The Routledge Handbook of the English Writing System provides a comprehensive account of the English writing system, both in its current iteration and highlighting the developing trends that will influence its future. Twenty-nine chapters written by specialists from around the world cover core linguistic and psychological aspects, and also include areas from other disciplines such as typography and computer-mediated communication.

Divided into five parts, the volume encompasses a wide range of approaches and addresses issues in the following areas:

  • theory and the English writing system, discussing the effects of etymology and phonology;
  • the history of the English writing system from its earliest development, including spelling, pronunciation and typography;
  • the acquisition and teaching of writing, with discussions of literacy issues and dyslexia;
  • English writing in use around the world, both in the UK and America, and also across Europe and Japan; 
  • computer-mediated communication and developments in writing online and on social media.

The Routledge Handbook of the English Writing System is essential reading for researchers and postgraduate students working in this area.

chapter 1|3 pages


part I|85 pages

Theory and the English writing system

part II|77 pages

The history and development of the English writing system

part III|69 pages

Learning and teaching English

chapter 13|17 pages

Teaching literacy to English children

Policy and practice

chapter 15|23 pages

The structure of literacy teaching

A case study from England

part IV|169 pages

Society and the English writing system in the world

chapter 18|21 pages

The spelling of Scots

Tradition, adaptation and reform

chapter 23|16 pages

Japanese uses of the English writing system

A case study

chapter 24|15 pages

Spelling reform

part V|101 pages

Processing the written symbol

chapter 25|21 pages

Typography and the printed English text

chapter 28|30 pages

Texting and other messaging

Written system in digitally mediated vernaculars

chapter 29|13 pages