Helping to proofread the ToolBox for online use is proving to be an absolutely wonderful opportunity to delve into it again more deeply. Having utilized it now for nearly a decade, usually dipping into it for something in particular only to climb out several hours later from the many rabbit holes I meandered through, and, originally, mistakenly taking it as the word of God, this time I am part of a team going through it methodically, looking at it purposefully with a critical eye. In that spirit, I will attempt to share some observations along the way.
In Kit 2L, page 5, when introducing the two homophones /wi:k/, Real Spelling prefaces by saying there are two graphemic possibilities: <week> and <weak>. Being the defiant person I can be, I immediately thought, “What about <weke>?” As is so often the case, as soon as I think something, Real Spelling goes on in more detail about that exact something.
“The letter string < eke > is not found in the spelling of Modern English elements. The spelling < weke > is, then, not available for / wiːk /.”
But, me thinks, “eke” is a verb (to eke out a living) native to Old English, which defies this assertion. Another lesson in interrogating all resources! Though it is true that, at least to my knowledge and a look at Neil Ramsden’s Word Searcher, there aren’t any other native English words that utilize this letter string, “not found” is not accurate and would seem to indicate that “not available” isn’t either. Despite it seemingly never used again, I think there is evidence for the possibility. So why isn’t it? I don’t have an answer but hopefully will recognize one if and when I come across it. Eek!