The Book of Spells and Misspells

is now out of print, but can be downloaded here as a pdf

Chapter 1. Spelling and Culture

Spelling as culture - Olde Worlde spelling - Modern spelling - They spell with their thumbs Words without spelling – Letters as words - Words without spelling – reading logos - Funny Biznis – Spel’n ‘n a Biskit - Sclambred Slepnilg – the cosmic mess - Spelling and technology - When spell checkers succeed - When spell checkers fail
Geography - The American way of Spelling - Dialect, Scots, Pidgin, Australian and Black spelling - The world spells back - International English spelling - International spellings for English - Eurospelling
History - A dated history of spelling - A pocket history of spelling
Spelling in literature - Dickens – Spelling at Dotheboys Hall - An old-time American Spelling Bee - Mark Twain – Spelling in ancient Egypt - Spelling by numbers - Verse and werse - Spelling limericks - The Chaos – Double-Dutch - Chaucer on spelling - Not quite Sir Walter Scott - Hamlet, partly written by Shakespeare - Keats looks into the spelling of Chapman’s Homer - Spelling drama

Chapter 2. What you don't know about spelling

The wild shores of spelling - The def and dum alfabet - The wild shores of consonants - The wild shores of vowels - Double-dealing curiosities - Back-to-front spelling - Infernal spelling – the spelling demons - I before E after tea - Double trouble consonants - Homographophobia - 100 words are half the words you read – How dictionaries spell - The Chomsky legend - Is English spelling irregular?

Chapter 3. Spelling Ideas - Sealed Sexion

Unprintable spelling - Laptop dancing - Spelling stripping - Spam spelling - Gorgeous spellings - Vulgar spelling - Spelling on Mars and Venus - The spelling adventures of Don Quixote - English spelling and the world - In Xanadu did Khublai Khan

Chapter 4. Pun and games

Only punning - Synchronized Spelling as an Olympic sport - A Spelling ABZ - Ghoti on the menu - Spelling as a joke - Trivia Box

Chapter 5: The Psychology of Pspelling

How children want to spell - How people spelled when they could spell as they liked - How people want to spell - They can’t spell to save themselves - Acid opinions and spelling rage - Personalise your spelling - The spelling ethic - Spelling and society

Chapter 6: It’s Thyme U Gnu

Spelling for fun - Spelling for communication

Short Bibliography




ISBN 1 85776 937 6

PUBN in UK: 26 May 2005 PAGES:112 PRICE: RRP UK £ 8.99 Australian A$29.95

Some copies may still be available from some Amazon national websites:, Amazon.fra,, etc

A treasury of spelling for everyone, that does for spelling what Lynne Truss does for punctuation,
but it laughs at the spelling, not at the spellers.

IMPORTANT: Read the table of contents first!

'Highly recommended/reccomended/recomended '
'I couldn't stop laughing.'
'Better than the telephone book any day'
' The Book of Spells & Misspells is full of witty and original insights into the world of written English, from Shakespeare's inventiveness to Dr Johnson and text messaging; from spelling as the flagship of culture to the the Australian national anthem in the original Anglo-Saxon.'

No matter how good or bad a speller you consider yourself to be, you are guaranteed to find something in The Book of Spells & Misspells that will surprise you and improve your knowledge and will also make you laugh. It is a treat for everyone who likes playing with words and enjoying curiosities, for students, pundits, teachers, writers and an essential book for schools and libraries.


Further pages on spelling:

 1. Introduction
Introduction to spelling improvement. /spockham.htm. Text of a radio broadcast
Rationale. How assumptions and barriers against improving the writing system do not hold. Answering the common objections to spelling improvement. /sration.htm

2 Needs and abilities of users and learners: -

i. Needs and abilities of readers /sreadsp.htm
ii. Needs and abilities of writers to spell - /swritsp.htm
iii. Needs and abilities of learners - /slernsp.htm
iv. Needs and abilities of users of international English - /sintrnt.htm
v. Spelling reform for the Internet (an older page)

3. The nature and teaching of English spelling

See the online video,
The underlying English spelling system that could be made more consistent - /spelsys.htm
Spelling patterns for the English vowels - /svowchart.htm
The Book of Spells & Misspells
- a treasury of spelling for everyone
22 Lessons in reading and spelling - v01acover.htm
The 16 word spelling test for anyone who thinks they can spell - 16sp.htm
Spelling and classroom practices - sclassprac.htm

4 Improving English spelling

Spelling improvement. 2002. - /spelimp.html
Seven principles to repair English spelling, 2005 - /sp7princ.htm
Cutting out the surplus letters in words.Streamline - a first step in updating spelling. /ssurplu.htm
Quik gidelines for a next step, with sampl texts, and furthr notes /sfastrs.htm. FASTR Spelling
Cutting out surplus letters. /intspel.htm 2002
Further steps you can try yourself, with f, j, consistent word endings and vowel spellings. /intspel2.htm
Further experiments to spel sensibly - Pronunciation and gramr, and a final solusion? /intspel3.htm 2000
The future of English spelling. What can be done? /sfutspe.htm

5. Spelling as an entertainment

Spelling Games - starting with a Spelling ABC - different from a Spelling BEE
16-word Spelling Test of 16 common words that few experts can spell all correctly. /16sp.htm
International English Spelling Day, October 9 /spday.html
How people spelled when they spelled as they liked before the 18th century dictionaries /spfree17c.htm
Don Quixote spells in 'Spelling without traps'. - /spquixote.htm. To come
Twelve Short Short storys about the fùtùr. Can u imagin a mor ùser-frendly speling sistem? Look at every wurd to see if u think its speling is a trap for lerners.