"Righting the Mother Tongue" tells the cockamamie story of
English spelling. When did "ghost" acquire its silent 'h'? Will
cyberspace kill the one in "rhubarb"? And was it really rocket
scientists who invented spell-check?
Seeking to untangle the twisted story of English spelling, David
Wolman takes us on a wordly adventure from English battlefields to
Google headquarters. Along the way, he pickets with spelling
reformers outside 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. The
journey is punctuated by spelling battles waged by the likes of
Samuel Johnson, Noah Webster, Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie
and the members of today's Simplified Spelling Society.
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
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