In a discussion on the pronunciation of names, I posted this:

I had a folklore professor who was really old in the 70's already, and he had a collection of 78s (really old phonograph records, for the youngsters in the readership 🙂) of collected folklore and one was a woman telling a story about Sean the Giantkiller or some such. He asked us what we could tell about it just from the first few lines and my hand shot up (because it was prone to do so), but this one was GOOD, and very memorable for me. She was pronouncing Sean as the word for already having looked: "Seen." I said "She learned it from a book."

Right. So she didn't have that one from the oral tradition, but had jumpstarted from a written source.

I like this modern commentary on English, but when I look at it I really do appreciate how meaning is conveyed so much by the appearance of the words, in English:

Ode to the Spell Checker!

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

(it was sent anonymously, like office humor)

It also sheds light on why "bad spelling" (wrong word choice) is so irritating to visual readers. It provides wrong information.

Kirby, the other day, was all het up about there being an apostrophe in Seasons Greetings or something on the window at the pizza place where he works. Or maybe it was Happy Holiday's. He really wanted it scraped off, but the management wasn't concerned. Kirby has never had a spelling lessons, just a few spelling conversations.


Alphabet dot-to-dot
One skips letters, another goes backwards.


Someone on Facebook commented on the box below:

Daniel Midgley: I have to show this to an ageing atheist sheik. He's eighty.

Other Exceptions:

...But Leisure and Seize can do as they please.

"Weird" is weird.

"sounded as 'a'"
as in neighbor
and weigh,

"shunt" words:

"science" and lots of words ending in science
and two common ones that can also end in "cient":
omniscience and omniscient,
prescience and prescient

"Keith" (names in general)


Another example:


There are nearly 1000 English words with "ie" or "ei." Make a guess or estimate at how many of each there are.

Did you come up with two numbers? Divide nearly-1000 into two piles.
Think about how you're deciding this. 🙂

The answer is on this page. <----- Click away.

Nice animation of history of letters

Word histories

Persephone and Hermione


Learning the Alphabet, and Reading

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