The Spelling Patterns of English
Andrew G. Rollings
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
Here at last is a book which describes and explains in great detail how English spelling works. It is therefore a must for anyone wishing to understand better the apparently chaotic orthographic system. It will be of special interest for linguists, language and literacy teachers, and designers of EFL textbooks and materials - and indeed everyone who is or aims to be a literate English-speaker. An earlier, unpublished version of this work has been described by Vivian Cook (in Inside Language) as “a useful and novel approach to spelling”.
The author looks for regularities and shows the system to be neither totally chaotic nor simple, but basically systematic despite its complexity. He relates spelling to the phonology, and shows the importance of syllable division in spellings of vowels, which are classified following orthographic criteria. Further topics discussed include morphemic alternation, underlying forms, marking devices, graphotactic constraints and etymological factors.
Principles underlying the orthography are postulated and illustrated in Part One. In Part Two, partly inspired by generative linguistics, spelling patterns are described and formalised into various types of rules. An Appendix lists and exemplifies all spellings of each sound.
ISBN 9783895867583. LINCOM Studies in English Linguistics 04. 260pp. 2004.