Spelling matters to people. In America and Britain every day, members of the public write to the media on spelling issues, and take part in spelling contests. In Germany, a reform of the spelling system has provoked a constitutional crisis; in Galicia, a 'war of orthographies' parallels an intense public debate on national identity; on walls, bridges and trains globally, PUNX and ANARKISTS proclaim their identities orthographically. The way we spell often represents an attempt to associate with, or dissociate from, other languages. In Spelling and Society, Mark Sebba explores why matters of orthography are of real concern to so many groups, as a reflection of culture, history and social practices, and as a powerful symbol of national or local identity. This 2007 book will be welcomed by students and researchers in English language, orthography and sociolinguistics, and by anyone interested in the importance of spelling in contemporary society.
Introduction: society and orthography; 1. Approaching orthography; 2. Orthography as social practice; 3. Language contact, linguists and the emergence of orthographies; 4. 'Postcolonial' orthographies; 5. Between language and dialect: orthography in unstandardised and standardising vernaculars; 6. Reform or revolution: where angels fear to tread; 7. Why do we spell?