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Write Right Wright Rite

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The four words in the heading are all pronounced the same, but spelled differently and have different meanings.

In 1786 Noah Webster paid a courtesy call on Benjamin Franklin when he arrived in Philadelphia.  Webster was trying to gain support for a new American alphabet that would eliminate some letters and unite the spelling with the pronunciation.  Franklin had this idea more than 40 years earlier but he couldn’t gather any interest and like many other ideas he had that were not practical, he put it out of his mind.  Webster was having the same discouraging experience not getting traction for his idea.  The 80 year old Franklin and the 27 year old Webster spoke for hours and quickly became friends and Franklin gave his notes to Webster. The idea never caught on but at some later point, in 1806, Webster put together the 37,000 words he collected and published his first American dictionary.

This information and some more is told in a very interesting story in a skillfully illustrated children’s book for ages 4 – 8.  I personally think that is too young an age for this book which has some pretty sophisticated ideas.  It is an enjoyable five minute read and if you have any interest in Benjamin Franklin, Noah Webster or the confused spelling of many commonly used words I wholeheartedly recommend it.  I also suggest it would be a good gift for children at least ten years and older.

The book is An Inconvenient Alphabet : Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution by Beth Anderson and Elizabeth Baddeley.

Not in the book, but three words follow that I find to be an interesting exercise.  Please say them out loud.    Daughter    Slaughter    Laughter

I think you will enjoy this book, and if you don’t you can always give it to some kid.

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