And Rimmain yoor obeddeend omble zervand: the invented spelling system of William Baillie of Dunain (1789-1869)

Nigel Fabb, Ian Hutchison

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William Baillie invented his own spelling system, which is used in six of his letters of the 1830s and 1840s. Among his practices are his use of 'voiced' consonant letters such as 'd' for both voiced and voiceless consonants such as [t] and [d], doubling of word-medial consonants, and respelling and addition of diacritics to vowels. A forced recluse considered to have a mental infirmity brought on by his residency in Bombay and Baghdad, Baillie's practice shows an intelligent attempt to understand the relation between spelling and sound, perhaps inspired by his knowledge of Persian and Arabic, and possibly showing a knowledge of the spelling system proposed by James Elphinston.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-338
Number of pages16
JournalTransactions of the Philological Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • William Baillie
  • spelling system
  • diacritics
  • vowels
  • sound

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