Subscribe or Log In to Anytime
Access audio & film from your favourite writers and thinkers
Give the gift of Anytime
Treat someone to a Hay Festival Anytime subscription
Please subscribe to Hay Festival Anytime for access to this content (more details)
Subscribe for £20.00 or log in if you already have a subscription

David Crystal

Spell It Out: The Singular Story Of English Spelling

Hay Festival 2013, 

Why is there an ‘h’ in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press, and his Flemish employees are to blame. Without a dictionary or style guide to hand in C15th Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to their foreign ears, and it stuck. The linguistics prof unearths the stories behind the rogue words that confound us, in an epic journey taking in C6th monks, French and Latin upstarts, the Industrial Revolution and the internet.