The American Language - Study Guide Chapter 8.2 Summary & Analysis

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Here the author devotes a chapter to the influences of Noah Webster on the American orthography. After acknowledging that writers and makers of other dictionaries did contribute, Mencken points out that it was Webster who "finally achieved the divorce between English example and American practice." Publishing his first tome in 1783, Mr. Webster followed that same year with a second spelling and orthography text. Both books made fast and profound impact on schools. Later versions were without rival. Printing presses were devoted so exclusively to Webster's guides that one printing press was built solely for a printing of his Elementary Spelling Book.

Webster's first dictionary appeared in 1806. As Mencken notes, it increased his influence on the language and on spelling. Besides its worth, it was without any real competition, for the only other valued publication belonged to Johnson, who so hated all things American that his...

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This section contains 518 words
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
The American Language from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.