1sunfight’s Weblog

October 13, 2008

Noah Webster Honored at Yale University

Filed under: Daily Observations,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 2:02 am
Tags: ,

One of the trivialities of American history that could get lost as time marches on was honored by Yale University. Yale University is honoring Noah Webster, father of the American dictionary.

To be honest, I do not know much about Noah Webster, especially why he choose to write a dictionary including his motives. I do know that after the American Revolution there was a period when the newly founded United States was looking to invent its own culture separate from its former mother country, the United Kingdom. I believe that defining our version of English was one of them and as it turns out I was correct in my assessment of that.

A teacher after the Revolutionary War, Webster believed that Americans should have their own textbooks rather than rely on English books.

Webster’s speller made it easier for children to learn English by spelling words more like they sounded. The French version of words like “centre” became “center,” and he dropped the British “u” in words like colour” and the redundant “k” in musick and other words.

Webster, born in what is now West Hartford, Connecticut, got his first glimpse of George Washington in 1775 when he and other Yale students serenaded the commander in chief on his way to Boston. Webster was later astounded when he heard all the languages spoken by the Continental Army.

“He was the shaper of our language and the shaper of American identity,” said Joshua Kendall, who is working on a biography about Webster. “Webster at last bonded us through our language.”

And now I know why Americans speak and write the we do.

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for this post. I learned something new. 🙂

    Comment by Jessica in NYC — October 14, 2008 @ 1:00 am

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