13.03.2002 // Miscellaneous // by Sergey Sirotkin

When Correct Spelling Became Important

Spelling was a creative activity at least as late as Shakespeare's days,
about 1600. In those good old days, spelling was no more fixed than the
language, and the Bard himself appears to have spelled his own name
differently every time he wrote it.

But the invention of printing press and the spread of education that it
fostered was already beginning to end all that. Wider literacy coincided
with the rise of vernacular languages, which eclipsed Latin. English, like
French, Italian, and others, got serious, taking on rules,
consistency and standardization. Setting it in type was like setting it in
stone. By the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the rules solidified and a
new subject was added to the curriculum. Everyone had to learn how to spell.
Torture, no longer practiced in dungeons, was perpetuated in classrooms.

Источник: The Oxford Companion To The English Language, ed. by Tom MacArthur, and Dictionary Of Misinformation by Tom Burnam
По материалам F.E. Discussion Group

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