Tuesday, October 16, 2012
You Can Look It Up, Thanks to Noah Webster
October 16 is Dictionary Day. Noah Webster's birthday. Go ahead--look it up. I can wait.
Click to Bigify
Noah Webster (1758-1843) published his first American dictionary of the English language in 1828. He has become known as the "father of American scholarship and education" because of his pioneering work in reading and spelling school books. (See what a Yale education can do for you?) He was an important political writer, too, particularly during the post-Revolutionary War period.
If you can't spell, then don't blame Webster. Generations of American people-students learned to spell (and, consequently, to read and write) using his primers and dictionaries. If he were still alive today (he would be really, really old), Webster would be the first to agree that software spell-check is no substitute for a handy dictionary. We're talking paper, here, folks. Old fashioned, perhaps, but learning to use a printed dictionary helps your people brain learn to systematically organize, sort, and analyze. Spell-check is a convenient tool, but it's no substitute for learning to spell correctly.
To celebrate Dictionary Day, we're going to feature one of the Music Man's compositions entitled "Dictionary Music" (2009). We used it as the soundtrack to a couple of the Library's book trailers.
Conversations Beyond the Light, by Dr. Pat Kubis & Mark Macy
(MPL Book Trailer #81)
The New Doublespeak, by William Lutz
(MPL Book Trailer #53)
Noah Webster Would Have Liked That Music, I'll Wager,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Holiday News Beat
P.S. For my musical closer, how about a song about dictionaries? Sure, why not? Here's "Dictionary Song" (2007), described by the person who posted this YouTube video as "written and sung on a very out-of-tune guitar by my lovely friend," who remains unnamed. I can understand that.