Hay Player

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.