Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

It is one of the characteristics of edubabble to treat as ‘exceptions’ spellings that its ideology cannot cope with and that its promoters cannot explain.

As Dr Johnson might well have said, postulating as an ‘exception’ a spelling that one can not oneself explain is the last refuge of the orthographic scoundrel.

Real spellers are exceptional in that we leap with glee upon a spelling that, at first sight, we can not explain. That is because we know that a little assiduous investigation will certainly lead us towards new discoveries and give us deeper insights into the elegant coherence and predictable consistency of the orthographic system. 

A few years ago, a class of eager word sleuths in the Cayman Islands lighted upon the spelling <mixture>.

Those young real spellers immediately, of course, saw the relationship with <mix>. They also realized that there was a problem with the analysis *<mix + ture>: it seems to imply a suffix *<-ture> rather than <-ure>.

But it did not cross their minds that <mixture> was an ‘exception’. They knew that there would be a reason for the apparently intrusive <t> in the spelling of <mixture>.  Since, though, they were unable to find that reason, they appealed for help.

This tutorial grew out of my response, in the construction of which I learned a thing or two myself. This is best viewed in the 'Dim Lights' mode.



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