Full Text

etymological spelling

Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


Etymology is a rival principle of phonemic representation in many alphabetic orthographies. It is evidence of the speech community's linguistic awareness and its readiness to acknowledge the independent existence of the written norm of its language. In English etymological spelling is rampant, because the spelling system has not been adjusted for several centuries. For example, <w> in acknowledge indicates the etymological relation with to know . ‘Silent’ letters such as <l> in folk , <k> in knife and <w> in wrestle are etymological remnants. Etymological spellings are often preserved to indicate morphological derivation, as in many learned words of Latin origin. Thus sign- in signal and paradigm- in paradigmatic are spelt phonemically, but as isolated words they contain a letter, <g>, which has no counterpart in the phonemic representation. In this way etymological spellings relate to other words belonging to the same paradigm, or to historically earlier word forms. See also spelling . Reading Smith 1980. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top