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Dictionary of the British English Spelling System

Greg Brooks


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1My special thanks (for the reasons, see the following section) go to:

  • Tom Gorman, who deflected me from this quest in 1976 in favour of my doctoral subject
  • Roger Beard, who set me on it again, and
  • John Mountford, who went off on a different one. Special thanks also to Ros Fisher, who provided the anecdote in section 3.7.2.

2I am indebted to several people’s previous efforts, especially their copious word-lists: Kenneth Albrow, Masha Bell, Vivian Cook, A. C. Gimson, Alan Cruttenden, W. R. Lee, John Mountford, Andrew Rollings, Axel Wijk, the now anonymous authors of The Spelling Rulebook, and above all Edward Carney, whose frequencies for phoneme-grapheme correspondences also feature regularly in chapters 3 and 5.

3Ivair Gontijo kindly engaged in discussion by email from California about his and his wife Possi’s grapheme-phoneme database, which provided the basis for the frequencies cited in chapters 9 and 10.

4A paper given by Irina F. Shcherbakova (then of the Moscow Reading Centre) at the 11th European Conference on Reading in Stavanger, Norway, in 1999 (Shcherbakova, 1999) contained an analysis of the pronunciation of vowel letters in English monosyllables which I have expanded into Table 10.2. Her colleague Natalia N. Smetannikova told me in 2014 that she and others had been using Irina’s 11 Tables of phoneme-grapheme and grapheme-phoneme correspondences in teaching English for 40 years – see next page for a parallel.

5For two further acknowledgments see the beginning of section 4.2.


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