The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published
Created by the most respected American publisher of dictionaries and supervised by the editor Philip Gove, Webster's Third broke with tradition, adding thousands of new words and eliminating "artificial notions of correctness," basing proper usage on how language was actually spoken. The... show more
Created by the most respected American publisher of dictionaries and supervised by the editor Philip Gove, Webster's Third broke with tradition, adding thousands of new words and eliminating "artificial notions of correctness," basing proper usage on how language was actually spoken. The dictionary's revolutionary style sparked what David Foster Wallace called "the Fort Sumter of the Usage Wars." Editors and scholars howled for Gove's blood, calling him an enemy of clear thinking, a great relativist who was trying to sweep the English language into chaos. Critics bayed at the dictionary's permissive handling of ain't. Literary intellectuals such as Dwight Macdonald believed the dictionary's scientific approach to language and its abandonment of the old standard of usage represented the unraveling of civilization. Entertaining and erudite, The Story of Ain't describes a great societal metamorphosis, tracing the fallout of the world wars, the rise of an educated middle class, and the emergence of America as the undisputed leader of the free world, and illuminating how those forces shaped our language. Never before or since has a dictionary so embodied the cultural transformation of the United States.
Publish date: October 9th 2012
Pages no: 351
Edition language: English
Besides the two quibbles I already stated, I had some problems with this. It seems as though Skinner's starting point on the whole issue might have been David Foster Wallace's essay on the dictionary in Consider the Lobster and Other Essays's romantic life, pay no attention to the dictionary behind ...
Dear Friends: Please don't hate me because this is so long. I hope that it's readable and informative. Ours, the American language, is a hospitable language composed of so many influences from outside the United States of America. Hopefully, we welcome with open arms people from other freedom lo...