Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When a dictionary was a bone of contention

Through an e-mail forwarded to me yesterday, I was led to an article about the publication of the first edition of the well-known 'American Dictionary of the English Language' by Noah Webster.  It seems it was highly controversial at the time.  I had to laugh at comments like this:

In the Monthly Anthology, James Savage attacked Webster without mercy, sparing not his 'suspicions of the definitions of Johnson,' his 'ridiculous violations of grammar,' nor his 'hurtful innovations in orthography.' 'But the fault of most alarming enormity in this work,' Savage concluded, 'is the approbation given to the vulgarisms' like congressional, presidential, departmental, crock, spry, tote, whop, and, of course, the inevitable lengthy.

There's more at the link.  Amusing, and both historically and linguistically entertaining!


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