wurdz in Nunberg’s “The Persistence of English”

I finally found the essay which describes Noah Webster’s attempt to distinguish American English from British English through orthography. Geoffrey Nunberg writes the following in “The Persistence of English“:

Even at the time of American independence, the linguistic differences between America and Britain were as great as those that separate many languages today, and the differences would have become much more salient if Americans had systematically adopted all of the spelling reforms that Webster had at one time proposed, such as wurd, reezon, tung, iz, and so forth, which would ultimately have left English and American looking superficially no more similar than German and Dutch. (11)

OK, it looks as if adding “z” to make the plural of “wurd” may not have been Webster’s idea and I fabricated my own plural. Ah, well. Works for me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: