SPELLING for GOING FORWARD in BASIC ENGLISH
English has a long history with a number of different effects from even older languages. This accounts, in part, for English being full with words, that is, there are frequently a number of words to say a like idea. The strongest effects are of German beginnings
from the attacks of German groups from the years after the Romans left and almost equally from the words coming from French with Latin and Greek roots from the Norman Conquest in 1066.
English spelling is not always in agreement with pronunciation. This is for a number of reasons. The Roman letters were used to represent Old English (Germanic) words. Some letters were added to Latin to take care of Germanic sounds : ash, eth, thorn and wynn plus yogh that did not live on, and some others were added later J, V, and W.
Old English (400-1200) (Anglo-Saxon) spelling came after the pronunciation, which also had towns and with ways of spelling for different areas. A number of things came about after that time. The Norman Conquest of 1066 brought French (Latin) words, spelling, and pronunciations to which English spelling became mixed into Middle English (1150-1450). The Great Vowel Shift of 1400-1600 changed the way Middle English words were pronounced and order was lost in the spelling for Early Modern English (1450-1700). The beginning of printing with machines round 1500 started to fix a spelling that had not become reasoned and regular. Printers fixed on a 26 letter alphabet to represent the about 40 sounds of English. Add to this that English happily takes words from other lands, coming with strange spellings.
Rules . Full English has a small number of general rules with great number of words that do not take the rules. The Rules are generally true, but are not able to be taken as strong laws. The learner will see that English spelling is part of learning English and that English sounds are not in agreement with English spelling. Don't fight it, simply go forward and learn it. Happily, most of the words selected for Basic do as the rules suggest.
noun - a thing, person, place
verb - an operator saying something "is" or "acts".
adjective - change a noun.
adverb - add or change a verb, generally ends with -LY
vowel - letters A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y
consonant - the other letters
long vowel - the letter says its name.
plural - more than one
suffix - added to the end of a word
PLURALS of Nouns.
1 . The regular form is to add -S (cat, cats)
2. a . Add -ES to those words having an ending with S. (Do not make addition of two S) (yes, yeses ; glass, glasses)
b . Also add -ES to ending "s" sounds -- X, Z, and GH, SH and CH (but not when pronounced "k"). (ax, axes)
3. a. Ending letter "Y" is regularly changed to "I" , -IES. (body, bodies)
b. But an ending of vowel-Y keeps the Y and adds -S . (boy, boys)
4. Ending letter "O" is not regular, adding either -S or -ES.
5. Ending letter "F" or "FE" is not regular.
a . If the plural sound is "F", then add -S. (roof, roofs) (belief, chief, grief, proof, safe, stiff)
b . If the plural sound is "VE, then drop the 'F' and add -VES.
(knife, knives ; leaf, leaves ; life, lives ; self, selves ; shelf, shelves ; thief, thieves ; wife, wives)
6 . IRREGULAR.
7 . Both Singular and Plural.
8 . Numbers, letters, and words as words make addition of "apostrophe S", (5's, C's,. PhD's)
| scissors|| scissors|
9 . Scientific Plurals. These sometimes make use of Latin (i, a) and Greek (ae) endings. There are no examples in Basic. The first such word a learner going forward will likely meet is :
"radius," plural is "radii," but one is able to hear "radiuses" in common use, though it is always spelled "radii".
1 . When to make two ending letters before a suffix ?
a . An ending consonant after a short vowel is made two before a suffix beginning with a vowel, -ED, -ING, etc. (put, putting)
b . The ending consonant after a long vowel or by two vowels is not made two. (take, taking) 1
1 . controlled, controller, controlling, controls. From MF/ME rolle.
2 . a. An ending E is dropped before putting a suffix beginning with a vowel : -ED , -ER , -EST, (never make addition to two ending "e") -ING (take taking, takes) (but see, seeing, sees)
b. The ending E is kept when adding a suffix beginning with a consonant. (love, loves, lovely)
a . -LY is normally added. Make an ending "L" two. (final, finally.)
_____ly has the sense "in a ____ way"
but do make three ending " L". (full, fully)
b . -ABLE may be used as a complex word.
_____able has the sense "is able to ____"
A few Latin verbs take -IBLE.
Attempts to discover rules is given in this verse learned by all English-talking boys and girls in school. It shows how complex spelling is able to be. Even with this rule, there are words not covered.
1 . "I" before "E" except after "C" or when sounded like "A" as in "neighbor" or "weigh."
These words follow the rule : eight , receipt , weight.
Exceptions : either, foreign, science , society.
2 . a . An ending "consonant-Y" is normally changed to 'I' before a suffix beginning with a vowel, -IED, or with -S becoming -IES. (See earlier)
b . but the ending -Y is kept when adding -ING. (Do not put two "i".)
c . Ending "vowel-Y" keeps the Y before adding -S (boy, boys)
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About this Page: spell2.html -- Some history and more rules about spelling in English.
Last updated December 19, 2005
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