Hello all,

Those working with structured word inquiry (Bowers & Kirby, 2010) are likely to have heard of the "4 questions of SWI".

These are questions that we can use to guide our scientific inquiry intended to deepen our understanding any spelling -- and the the conventions of the spelling system in which that spelling evolved. There is not "one correct wording" of these 4 questions. My own wording for these questions have evolved multiple times. The wording of thes questions attempt to reflect the hierarchy of the orthographic constraints (I'm not sure that's the best word) that influence the spellings that have evolved in English spelling. The model of English orthography reflected by real spelling provides the model by which I try to refine my own wording of those questions.

Screen Shot 2018 05 17 at 2.24.15 PM

Below is a screen shot of the wording for the "4 questions" that I used until about a year ago...

Screen Shot 2018 05 17 at 2.29.45 PM


Recently, with the help of some fellow orthographic scholars including Gail Venable and Sue Hegland, I took on the challenge of refining my wording for these questions because I had come to see them as problematic.

At THIS LINK you are welcome to download a pdf of the most current iteration of my wording for these questions. Below is a screen shot of that wording:

Screen Shot 2020 10 11 at 10.50.40 PM


I'd I thought that I would post this current iteration of the wording I am using. I have no doubt that I'll revise again in the future. There are still aspects of this that I'm not happy with, but it's the best I've been able to come to so far. 

Instead of sharing what my issues were with the previous version, and why I like this current version better, I thought I'd just let the reader consider that for themselves. I hope you'll share your own thinking and/or ideas for revision.