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    Spell it Out: The Singular Story of English Spelling (Paperback) By (author) David Crystal

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    DescriptionWhy is there an 'h' in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press and his Flemish employees are to blame: without a dictionary or style guide to hand in fifteenth century Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to their foreign ears, and it stuck. Seventy-five per cent of English spelling is regular but twenty-five per cent is complicated, and in Spell It Out our foremost linguistics expert David Crystal extends a helping hand to the confused and curious alike. He unearths the stories behind the rogue words that confound us, and explains why these peculiarities entered the mainstream, in an epic journey taking in sixth century monks, French and Latin upstarts, the Industrial Revolution and the internet. By learning the history and the principles, Crystal shows how the spellings that break all the rules become easier to get right.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Spell it Out

    Spell it Out
    The Singular Story of English Spelling
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) David Crystal
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 336
    Width: 129 mm
    Height: 198 mm
    Thickness: 21 mm
    Weight: 271 g
    ISBN 13: 9781846685682
    ISBN 10: 1846685680

    BIC E4L: LAN
    BIC language qualifier (language as subject) V2: 2AB
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T8.6
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25640
    BISAC V2.8: LAN000000
    BIC subject category V2: 2AB, CBX
    Libri: ENGM1850, ANGL4880
    DC23: 421.52
    Thema V1.0: CBX
    Profile Books Ltd
    Imprint name
    Profile Books Ltd
    Publication date
    19 September 2013
    Publication City/Country
    Author Information
    David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written many books and articles in fields ranging from forensic linguistics and ELT to the liturgy and Shakespeare. He is the author of The Story of English in 100 Words [9781846684272], published by Profile, and his Stories of English is a Penguin Classic.
    Review quote
    Entertaining ... Crystal's many examples show that the development of English spelling is as random, unsystematic and anomalous as the British constitution. English spelling is as rich a mixture of anachronism, privilege and fashion as the House of Lords Sunday Times A prolific author ... he can write with authority on trends in the spelling of rhubarb and indeed on the history of the spelling of any tricky word you care to mention. For him, the patterns are clear ... highly entertaining Observer A prolific author ... highly entertaining to read Observer Spectacular Readers Digest This masterly book is a deft guide with a light touch -- Harry Mount TLS A spelling book with a difference Yorkshire Gazette and Herald Crystal's splendid book, the latest in a long line by this prolific language truffler, proceeds chronologically, deep in learning and characteristically light on its feet. -- Marcus Berkmann Daily Mail A Must Read...An entertaining and fascinating study of how English spelling became so wildly inconsistent. Sunday Times The chaotic yet enthralling story of British spelling through the ages Bookseller