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Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling

 
 
 
 
Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling
Author: David Wolman
ISBN 13: 9780061369261
ISBN 10: 61369268
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 2010-03-23
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
List Price: $14.99
 
 

When did ghost acquire its silent h? Will cyberspace kill the one in rhubarb? And was it really rocket scientists who invented spell-check?

In Righting the Mother Tongue, author David Wolman tells the cockamamie story of English spelling, by way of a wordly adventure from English battlefields to Google headquarters. Along the way, he joins spelling reformers picketing the national spelling bee, visits the town in Belgium—not England—where the first English books were printed, and takes a road trip with the boss at Merriam-Webster Inc. Wolman punctuates the journey with spelling wars waged by the likes of Samuel Johnson, Noah Webster, Theodore Roosevelt, and Andrew Carnegie.

Rich with history, pop culture, curiosity, and humor, Righting the Mother Tongue explores how English spelling came to be, traces efforts to mend the code, and imagines the shape of tomorrow's words.

Wall Street Journal

An intellectual travelogue across the centuries that also ranges geographically from the Litchfield haunts of Dr. Johnson, creator of the first great English dictionary, to the Silicon Valley home of Les Earnest, the progenitor of computerized spell-checking.