[email protected]

This is one of my favorite dailies in my mailbox (I also get Sunfest and KnowledgeNews). I particulary enjoyed this one!

In case anyone's interested: it's free (subscription info at the bottom) and comes in daily, with a different theme every week.


Kelly Lovejoy
Conference Coordinator
Live and Learn Unschooling Conference

-----Original Message-----
From: Wordsmith <wsmith@...>

This week's theme: words about words.

heterography (het-uh-ROG-ruh-fee) noun

1. A spelling different from the one in current use.

2. Use of the same letter(s) to convey different sounds,
for example, gh in rough and ghost.

[From Greek hetero (different) + -graphy (writing).]

The idea of heterography is a recent phenomenon, relatively speaking.
Earlier, when English was mainly a spoken language, it was a free-for-all,
spelling-wise. Any spelling was good as long as you could make yourself
understood. Each writer spelled words in his own way, trying to spell
them phonetically. Shakespeare spelled his own name in various ways
(Shaxspear, Shakespear, and so on).

If you read old manuscripts, you can find different spellings of a word
on the same page, and sometimes even in the same sentence. Spelling wasn't
something sacrosanct: if a line was too long to fit, a typesetter might
simply squeeze or expand the word by altering the spelling.

If the idea of to-each-one's-own spelling for the same word sounds bizarre,
consider how we practice it even today, in the only place we can: in our
names. Look around you and you might find a Christina and a Cristina and
a Kristina and many other permutations and combinations.

With the advent of printing in the 15th century, spelling began to become
standardized. By the 19th century, most words had a single "official"
spelling, as a consensus, not by the diktat of a committee.

Today if you write "definately" and someone points out that you've misspelled
the word, just tell them you're a practitioner of heterography.

-Anu Garg (gargATwordsmith.org)

"A lengthy discourse on several levels of Arabic heterography leads,
however, to an assertion that the manuscript's African-Arabic script
is ... the opposite of a self-conscious European autobiography or
slave narrative."
Allan D. Austin; African Muslims in Antebellum America; Routledge; 1997.

Sponsors' Messages:
Customize Thinking Putty as a Corporate Gift! Adult-sized handfuls, fun
colors, and your own full color artwork: http://puttyworld.com/custom.html

101 questions answered! Why do hurricanes happen? Who put New Orleans where
it is? How many stars are in the sky? http://knowledgenews.net/s?s=aw102005

It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of
the rest of mankind. -Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

Forensic Linguistics: Discuss the role of language in the world of crime
and justice, in a live chat with Roger W. Shuy, forensic linguistics expert,
professor, author: Nov 7, 2005, 7 PM Pacific (GMT -8) http://wordsmith.org/chat


Permalink: http://wordsmith.org/words/heterography.html

This message was sent to "kbcdlovejo@...".

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]