Today is National Dictionary Day. It is celebrated on October 16th in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday. Noah Webster is often considered one of the American Founding Fathers. He was one of the most prolific authors of the new nation. His dictionary, and arguably his greatest life achievement, was published in 1828 when he was 70 years old. He preferred spellings that matched the pronunciations better and his last dictionary basically distinguished American English from British English with changes in spelling of words like center (from centre), color (from colour), and so on. It was considered a pretty radical move in the day. It’s important to realize that he didn’t just make this stuff up either, he was representing the language of a new nation which was trying to separate ideologically from England. He was also a teacher and had many strong opinions about how American children should be educated. He created a guidebook known as the Blue-Backed Speller designed to teach children how to read, spell and pronounce words. It was the most popular American book of its time. The legacy of his dictionary speaks for itself, though he never received much recognition for it before he died.
In honor of Noah Webster, wordsmith extraordinaire and crafter of definitions, I would like to propose a special Creating Exercise for you today. Continue reading