'The History of English Spelling' published

Janet Upward and George Davidson (centre) at the book launch of 'The History of English Spelling'

24th October 2011

The research of Christopher Upward, a former Aston University academic, has been published following his death thanks to the perseverance of his wife Janet.

Christopher Upward was a Senior Lecturer in German at the School of Languages & Social Sciences at Aston University until his retirement in 1995. When Christopher died in 2002, his wife Janet made it her ambition to publish Christopher’s life work. Christopher started work on The History of English Spelling in 1987 and after his death, Janet commissioned writer and lexicographer George Davidson to edit and complete her husband’s work. The History of English Spelling was published by Wiley-Blackwell in August. 

The History of English Spelling reveals the history of Modern English spelling, tracing its origins and development from Old English up to the present day. The book includes a wealth of information and data on English spelling not available anywhere else and features a complementary website with additional material (www.historyofenglishspelling.info).

The launch of the book was marked by a reception held at Aston University on 14 October, attended by friends, family, former colleagues and invited guests, including renowned linguist expert, Prof David Crystal OBE, who attended via Skype.

Christopher graduated from Cambridge University in 1961 and taught German at Aston from 1970 until he retired in 1995. He developed an interest in English spelling and this became his research focus. He was a member of the Simplified Spelling Society (now known as the English Spelling Society), and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. He was also an Associate Editor of The Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992) and wrote many papers on English spelling and spelling reform.

The book is available for sale through the Wiley Knowledge website. If you order before 31 October 2011 you can purchase the book for the special price of £12 by entering the promotional code VB483 at the checkout.

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For further information, please contact Louise Russell, Communications Officer at Aston University on 0121 204 4637 or l.a.russell1@aston.ac.uk