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Broken Rules and Word Stories

spelling exceptions

Why some spelling words are exceptional

An introduction to the very joyous fact that through seven major paths, the vast majority of English words are predictable, explicable and easily organised.

Instead of sheepishly sweeping spelling exceptions under the carpet, this topic provides a means of celebrating broken rules.

Resources: lesson plan, printable worksheet and example lesson

Duration: 90 minutes

Recommended reading

If this is a subject that thrills you like it does me, you might want to take a look at The Story of English: Third Revised Edition
by McCrum, MacNeil and Cran. It’s an excellent ready-reckoner when you’re looking at the historical aspect of spelling.

It’s also quite difficult to go past the wonderful Anatoly Liberman’s Word Origins And How We Know Them: Etymology for Everyone . This book really is a must for any budding etymologist.

You can link to Professor Liberman’s blog and get weekly updates on word origins. He promises one day to publish the ultimate etymological dictionary, and I have no doubt he will! He also wrote the foreword to Spelling for Life, but we liked him long before that!

To book this presentation at your school, please contact us.

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