Notes on: Albrow, K.H., The English Writing System: notes towards a description, Longman 1972

Vivian Cook 

Venezky's System

Note this page is rather slow and inefficient to get the IPA symbols reliably in graphics

Word Groups Exercise
Sort these words into three similar groups according to their spelling

egg, asparagus, porridge, escalope, chips, lamb, peas, beer, spaghetti, beef, salad, gelatine, potato, vegetable, gem, greens, lasagne, artichoke, cabbage, Balti, brandy, duck, bread, water

What labels would you give to the three groups?
Check later whether you groups are similar to Albrow's.

System 1 The basic system

Allbrow's Basic Spelling System for English

Grammatical items

two letter grammatical words possible: be we he so no me
three letter lexical words possible: bee, wee, heehee, sow, know, see
initial <th> in grammatical words: / /: this
[alt rule: avoid complex Vs in monosyllables: the, a, who, why]
suffixation (polysyllables):
plural <s> when not syllabic /s/ or /z/; otherwise <es>  /iz/
past <ed>  /t/ /d/: irregulars problem: paid, lent etc
<ing> keeps <y>; swaying, paying; deletes <e>:


initial capital: Cook
final doubling: Ladd, Mann
<e> instead of doubling:
Lowe, Moore, Locke

System 2 ‘Romance’ spellings

Allbrow's system 2 Romance spelling for English

System 3 Exotic spellings
Small groups of recent borrowings.


Allbrow's Systems ogf English spelling table

Uses of <e> (Albrow p.30-31)
1 dummy vocalic <e> in gate etc
2 dummy consonantal in live, leave
3 lexical following <s> in house
4 final <e> in <dge>: hedge
5 <e> in grammatical suffixes: ed er est etc
6 <e> in surnames: