Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

One of my students and I were investigating the word disaster. Although rich in etymological surprises, taking us through fields of flowers and Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, the English base element <aster> itself doesn’t yield many words. And we could not put the grammatical relative disastrous in the matrix.

This got us to thinking about British spellings of words such as, for example, <centre>, rather than the American spelling <center>. The dropping of the <e> makes sense with the British spelling, and when using that spelling, we can include the words central, centric, eccentric, in the matrix. Because the <er> is syllabic, we need the vowel, but how can we include these derivatives with the American spellings? Would love to hear how others handle this dilemma. How about creating a matrix with these derivatives and in the denotation section of the matrix noting the alternate spelling. Thoughts?

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