Books Completed: 17
Completion Date: January, 2009
Publication Date: September 29, 2008
Reason for Reading: Received from Publisher. TBR Challenge 2009. New Author Challenge.
First things first. Yes, I know we were supposed to read a category romance, but I never read category romance, so this is going to have to do! Secondly, I know that I only got this book in 2009, but that is because the copy I was supposed to get in 2008 never made it to me, so I had to wait to have it sent again! And, lastly, I am so way later with this review than I meant to be, but it is still in time...
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 words.
This book was really interesting! I am an English major, so the English language interests me as both a reader and a student (even if I have graduated). My boyfriend is always saying that it is because of the technology today that people cannot spell. I found it really interesting to read this book, where that topic was looked at, as long as a lot of other spelling ideas. It is kind of interesting. Before I went to university my friends called me a spelling Nazi, but I have got so slack in later years. When I started this blog I was still in university, and I used it to be casual because I had to be perfect all the time! I rarely reread what I wrote, and believe me, it shows! (I try to do better now, but it is still normally a hasty attempt at the English language!) I do use complete sentences when I send text messages or IM's, though... What about you folks?
This book is in many ways the history of spelling. The English language is rather complicated, in case people haven't noticed, so it was interesting to read about the evolution of it. He also talks about people that advocate for a simpler form of spelling. There were examples, and they actually made my head hurt! They might be the words 'correctly' sounded out, but I have read so much over the years that I just read. In many ways my mind just assumes the word and only pauses when I come across a word that is not in my normal vocabulary. So, I don't know if I could handle changes to spelling... As complicated as it is, I can get by! When I actually put my mind to it, I can spell and use grammar quite well!
I do recommend this book. It was really interesting and written in a fun way. It wasn't dry, or at least, I didn't find it dry. I especially enjoyed the history lessons, because history has always been a hobby of mine. He even talks about the creation of spell-check and the advantages and disadvantages of it. I know that I love spell-check. It is not necessarily for spelling mistakes for me, though; it is really more for the typos that I might not notice otherwise! While not perfect, it is helpful!
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