Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling
Seeking to untangle the twisted story of English spelling, David Wolman takes us on a wordly adventure from English battlefields to Google headquarters. Along ...more
I originally picked this up because of a hugely entertaining interview with the author I heard on public radio's "The World in Words;" and blessedly, the book turns out to be just as entertaining, a brisk yet informative look at the various attempts over the millennia to standardize what we know as the Eng ...more
The information in here is interesting, but I wanted more out of Wo ...more
The American Language-4th Editin
Websterisms: A Collection of Words and Definitions Set Forth by the Founding Father of American English
Wolman takes off from a position of a spelling-challenged student to tour the roots of English orthography (the study of spelling) in this light extended magazine piece. He starts at several ground-zero sites in England where English as a spoke ...more
"Following the Norman invasion, French usurped an estimated 85 percent of the Old English vocabulary." (p28)
"In the end, Gutenberg's downfall had nothing to do with knockoffs. Just as he was finally printing and selling some books, his business partner lost patience and took him to court. The famous inventor's debt led to a lost lawsuit and the forfeiture of his printing press, workshop equipment, and a bulk of whatever money he'd earned from sales." (p40)
"Many printers ...more
Chapter 5, which bridges the gap between the advent of printing and the publishing of Johnson’s dictionary, was the most illuminating section for me, as it gave some clarity to how printing houses and self-appointed tastemakers and language-shapers in the ...more
Outside of his detailed history ...more
I just read this book by David Wolman.
The book was somewhat inconsistent in its approach but the subject matter was fascinating!
I learned that we lost 6 letters in Olde English. Here are three of them and the origins of ampersand.
The longest place name in the world is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturi-pukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu in New Zealand.
Shakespeare invented over 2000 new lexemes and invented many phrases that are standard parts of the modern English language! Here
This book completely changed the way I look at spelling problems
It succeeds in telling the story mainly from the point of view of the many protagonists who have tried to simplify it over the years, largely without success. There is also a nod to the more recent times where the internet and texting are having their inevitable effect!
The o ...more
Originally posted on Seeing Indigo.
A little tedious in places, but if you've an interest in words and in the ridiculousness of English spelling this might be your cup of tea.
He has also written for such publications as the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Nature, and Outside. His long-form feature about Egypt’s 2011 uprising was a finalist for a 2012 National Magazine Award for reporting, and his profile of a curr ...more