The Mother Tongue - Chapter 10 Order Out of Chaos Summary & Analysis

Bill Bryson
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Chapter 10 Order Out of Chaos Summary and Analysis

Bryson describes the difficulty of determining both the number of words in the English language and how many of these words the average person knows and uses. Part of this problem is the unreliability of dictionaries to describe the meanings of words as well as list all the words known to speakers of English. Because English grows and changes at such as fast rate, it is practically impossible for a dictionary to keep up.

Though other dictionaries existed before, the one written by Samuel Johnson is one of the longest standing early examples of an English language dictionary. This dictionary is published in 1755 after nine years of work and contains over 43,000 words. It has numerous misspellings and other errors but also many definitions with political overtones that express Johnson's views of life.

Noah...

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This section contains 379 words
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Buy The Mother Tongue Study Guide
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