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Customer Review

on 17 May 2011
The English language has evolved over thousands of years and continues to evolve. It's power comes from its ability to absorb new words and concepts from other cultures. It has had that opportunity as a result of invasions, from Britain being a seafaring power and from our being a colonial power. English is the spoken all over the world. Much of the world's great literature in written in English.
You would hardly believe this from reading this silly little book. The author seems to suggest that because there are exceptions in English spelling, English speakers are illogical and incompetent. Her history of the language is laughable. Samuel Johnson is summarily dismissed with no credit given for his establishing the methodology still in use today for compiling and maintaining dictionaries. The Romans,Vikings, Angles, Saxons might not have been here for all the credit they are given.
The author seeks to establish a phonetic system of spelling. She fails to understand why spelling is how it is, preferring to put it down to typographical errors and Johnson's personal whims. She appear to have no knowledge of etymology and the importance of prefixes and suffixes in the development of spelling.
When faced with such a large language as English, it is inevitable that words can have more than one meaning. It can be helpful if they have different spellings. 'Ewe', 'you', and 'yew' are immediately obvious as different concepts. The alternative 'u' is meaningless and ugly. 'Vein', vain' and 'vane' are similarly distinguishable as different concepts but might all be reduced to 'vayn' or something equally inane under the proposed system.
This is a book which whinges that English spelling is difficult and then proposes something far less systematic, much more ugly and probably more difficult for most established readers to learn.
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2.8 out of 5 stars