The dictionary wars : the American fight over the English language / Peter Martin.
- Other Title:
- Dic*tion*ar*y wars
American fight over the English language
- Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press,  , ©2019
x, 358 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
- Webster, Noah, 1758-1843.
Worcester, Joseph E. (Joseph Emerson), 1784-1865.
G. & C. Merriam Company.
English language -- United States -- Lexicography -- History.
English language -- Lexicography -- History.
- Peter Martin recounts the patriotic fervor in the early American republic to produce a definitive national dictionary that would rival Samuel Johnson's 1755 Dictionary of the English Language. But what began as a cultural war of independence from Britain devolved into a battle among lexicographers, authors, scholars, and publishers, all vying for dictionary supremacy and shattering forever the dream of a unified American language.
- Part one. Noah Webster's battles. British mockery and American disdain ; Noah Webster: "The wildest innovator" ; Webster's first dictionary ; Displacing Delilah ; The lexicographer's fifth column ; Tea and copyright: Goodrich takes over ; Spelling wars: the rise of Lyman Cobb ; The "common thief" ; Webster's decline
Part two. The Merriams at war. Taking Webster out of Webster: from family feuds to the Merriam Brothers ; Waiting for Worcester ; The Bohn affair ; Converse's complaint ; Children, money, and "trash" ; High stakes: "Have we a national standard of language?" ; The "terrible rival": Worcesterian resurgence ; The Merriams triumphant: "Worcester! Worcester! all change for Webster!"
Appendix A: The "Webster" brand
Appendix B: Four centuries of selected dictionaries of the English language
Appendix C: Publishing terms
Appendix D: "The spelling bee at Angels (reported by Truthful James)," by Bret Harte.
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 311-347) and index.
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