Beneath the Surface of Words: What English Spelling Reveals and Why It Matters

English spelling has an undeserved reputation as unreliable and riddled with frustrating quirks. In the pages of this book, you’ll find stories, examples, and explanations that will reorient your perspective and reveal the integrated system that makes sense of the spelling of English words.

This book will answer questions like these:

  • Why is there a W in answer and an L in talk?
  • What is going on with words like move and comfortable?
  • Why isn’t hasten spelled like basin or mason?

These spellings make sense once we are aware of all that’s conveyed by a written word – information about so much more than its pronunciation. This book will introduce the structural (morphological) framework that is present in every English word, reveal the signals of relationships that are embedded in our most interesting spellings, and provide enlightening evidence to support a reevaluation of some traditional spelling rules.

The compelling explanations of English spelling contained in this book allow all of us to understand and reconstruct many spellings, rather than memorizing them, while expanding vocabulary and deepening reading comprehension. This is particularly important for those with dyslexia.

Set aside what you know about spelling for the moment, and take a journey below the surface of words. Together, we’ll uncover the surprising coherence, depth, and clarity of the English writing system.


By: Sue Scibetta Hegland


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