The American Way of Spelling: The Structure and Origins of American English Orthography

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9781572304697: The American Way of Spelling: The Structure and Origins of American English Orthography

Can ghoti really be pronounced fish? Why is "o" short in glove and love, but long in rove and cove? Why do English words carry such extra baggage as the silent "b" in doubt, the silent "k" in knee, and the silent "n" in autumn? And why do names like Phabulous Phoods and Hi-Ener-G stand out? Addressing these and many other questions about letters and the sounds they make, this engaging volume provides a comprehensive analysis of American English spelling and pronunciation. Venezky illuminates the fully functional system underlying what can at times be a bewildering array of exceptions, focusing on the basic units that serve to signal word form or pronunciation, where these units can occur within words, and how they relate to sound. Also examined are how our current spelling system has developed, efforts to reform it, and ways that spelling rules or patterns are violated in commercial usage. From one of the world's foremost orthographic authorities, the book affords new insight into the teaching of reading and the acquisition and processing of spelling sound relationships.

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About the Author:

Richard L. Venezky is the Unidel Professor of Educational Studies at the University of Delaware, where he holds joint appointments in linguistics and computer and information sciences. In addition to his academic position, he works with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC, and directs an educational technology project for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. He lives in Newark, Delaware, and in Sag Harbor, New York, with his wife, Councilwoman Karen G. Venezky.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1. Overview
2. A Celebration of Variation
3. Creative Spellings
4. The Sound System
5. The Writing System
6. Origins and Evolutions
7. Discovering Regularity
8. Consonant Patterns
9. Vowel Patterns
10. Morphophonemics
11. Spelling Reform
12. Teaching Phonics
Glossary

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