English spelling origin (OT?)

James E. Clapp j.clapp at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Dec 13 04:49:58 UTC 2002

sagehen wrote:

> Um, well there are all those words  with the adjectival suffix /-ic/as well
> as "magic" & "logic," &c. They may have had a / k/ in the eighteenth
> century, but no longer.

Oh, those.  I meant to say:

        C before K, except after I
        in multisyllabic words like phthalic and phthisic.

I'm still working on the rhyme...  and all the other exceptions involving a
final c (like "maniac").  I'm afraid I was focusing on the specific question
of -ck vs. -k and overlooked the problem of -ck vs. -c.  Still, for
monosyllables at the level of a six-year-old's spelling lessons, "ck" for "k"
sound after short vowel is a pretty good rule of thumb.  I'll have to leave
it to Thom Harrison to sort out the details of when and why we use -c

Thanks for pointing this out.

James E. Clapp

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