Spellingo - the spelling game Article by Petra Barnes dated 15.05.2021

No, not a spelling mistake 😉

After many years of development, the time has finally come. Our spelling game Spellingo has gone to print. But how did we come up with the name?

Maybe we'll start by explaining what the game is all about; English spelling. Big deal, you might say now, but the English language is not almost completely phonetic like the German language. That is, everything is written the way it sounds. That would be too easy.

In English there are just as many letters in the alphabet as in German: 26. So far so good.

In German, in addition to the alphabet, you have the umlauts ä, ö and ü and 5 diphthongs au, äu, eu, ei and ie, blend consonants such as sp in play, bl in blue, zw in two and multigraphs such as sch, ch, and ck.

In English, however, you have many more letter combinations, 48 to be exact. In addition, they can consist of 2 (th as in there), 3 (igh, as in night) or even 4 (ough, as in bought) letters. The letters and their combination complicate everything even more, because they can have between 1-6 different sounds. YIKES!

There are many vowels (vowel sounds) in the English language. These 15 sounds can be written in 28 different spellings ☹. Here, I and Y are both vowels and consonants.

There are more blended consonants that we don't know in German or pronounce differently (e.g. th, wh).

Did I mention all the silent letters?

Almost every letter can also be silent. Here are just a few examples: comb, know, come, honest, listen, answer, design, Autumn, Wednesday. But that is a topic for part 2 of Spellingo. There's no stretching H for that in English, so that's worth something too 😉.

However, to make it even more complicated, there are lots of words that either sound the same 🎧 but are spelt differently (e.g. two - to - too, meat-meet, know-no), words that are spelt the same but are pronounced differently (read [ried] and its past tense form read [räd], desert- the desert, to desert- let someone down) and often the meaning also changes and you can only tell which meaning is meant in the context of the text (spell- spell out, spell, seizure). These words have the generic term: homonyms. But this is also a topic for the next game.

When we say English, we mean British and American English, because as you probably know, English is spoken as a mother tongue or official second language in many countries. For example, in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. And each country has its own pronunciation and spelling.

So you see, English spelling and pronunciation is a science in itself and that's why we developed Spellingo for you.

So back to our initial question, how did we come up with the name SPELLLINGO ?


LINGO stands for language, of course, and SPELL for spelling, but a SPELL is also a spell and so we hope that Spellingo will cast a spell on you and that you won't have a SPELL (fit) when it comes to English spelling and pronunciation. So, play instead of cramming.

Have fun Petra

Spelllingo - addresses students' learning problems and explains if and what the rules are for learning English easily.