The History of English Orthography

Dec 14, 2011 by

 BY VAISHNAV ARADHYULA (“Languages of the World”) It was the first day of seventh grade Spanish class, and the word “ghoti” was written on the blackboard. “Ghoti,” Señor Robles explained, spells fish. In English. “The...

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How did they say it?

Apr 14, 2011 by

It is not difficult to find websites that offer recordings of historical dialects or even of long-ago dead languages. But how do we know how anything was pronounced in ages past? Unfortunately, there are only three reliable ways to...

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Ghoti

Jun 29, 2010 by

In yesterday’s postings, I mentioned the so-called phonographic writing systems, including the alphabetic ones such as the English writing system. The idea is that in a phonographic writing system a symbol (“graph”)...

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Lingua Longa Vita e Brevis?

Apr 19, 2010 by

The cartoon illustrates many people’s worry about what the Internet, text-messaging and other modern technologies are doing to the English language. When space (and time) is at a premium, we write U instead of you, NITE instead...

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