chapter  36
16 Pages

Morphology and Spelling: What Have Morphemes to Do With Spelling?

In many scripts certain sounds can be spelled in more than one way. We write the opening sound of ‘fan’ in one way and ‘phantom’ in another, even though they are the same sound. So the writer often has to decide which of two or three or even four possible spellings for a sound is the right one for a particular sound in a particular word. This degree of choice in English and in many other orthographies is one of the main reasons for the mistakes that children make in spelling. When they misspell a sound in a particular word, the spelling that they choose for it is frequently appropriate, though wrong. Children, and sometimes adults too, often choose a spelling for a particular sound in a particular word that really does represent that sound correctly, but does so in different words, for example, sownd for ‘sound’, reesen for ‘reason’.