By the second half of the Elizabethan period, the perception of English had changed significantly in England. It was increasingly perceived as a sophisticated language capable of matching the refinement of other European languages. One of the language’s most vocal advocates was a schoolmaster named Richard Mulcaster. His ‘Elementarie’ argued for the standardization of English spelling and established the foundation of many common spelling conventions used in Modern English.
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I’ve always been struck by the spelling in the US founding documents, like the Declaration of Independence, specifically the long s that looks like an s, mentioned in this episode. ‘When in the course of human events, it becomes necefsary for one people to disfolve the political bonds…”
Kevin’s mention of the esses that looked like effs reminded me of a segment from the 1980s sitcom Cheers in which Woody mentions that the US Congress was originally called “Congreff,” an allusion to documents of the Founding Fathers (or something like that).
Amazing the dots–important and otherwise–that get connected while listening to educational podcasts.
Why this episode has no transcript?
It’s there now.
Thank you Kevin
I am a retired teacher living in Australia. Your podcast should be compulsory listening for all teachers of English. I learned to spell words through memory but the story of words adds a new richness to the language. Thank you Kevin
Another great episode. Would it be fair to say that Richard Mulcaster was the man who made “fetch” happen?