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Book: Spellbound

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:55 pm
by Susan Godsland
I've just bought a copy of Spellbound: The Improbable Story of English Spelling by James Essinger, published by Robson Books.

Apparently, 'His previous writings and his time spent teaching English abroad leave him exceptionally well qualified in the linguistic field' (back flap)

As yet I haven't read it all through, but flipped to interesting looking pages. Oh dear!

He gets this right: 'There is no visible connection between a word written using an alphabet and the meaning of the word.' (p59). But then he writes, '...we appear to read familiar words by glancing at the entire shape of the word rather than running through our minds the sequence of letters and the cumulative sounds they represent. This seems to suggest that ultimately we read familiar words in a logographic way.' (p61.) No, no, no, no!

And on dyslexia, he writes, 'Dyslexia is a neurological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to recognise and process graphic a profound psychological enigma...' (p62) Groan.

You can contact James directly, here: ... 77-7162858 ... spellbound