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Noah Webster

Noah Webster. By: Alexa Wegman. Life and Background. b. October 16, 1758 d. May 28, 1843 Born in the West Division of Hartford, CT Fourth of five kids to Noah Sr. (a farmer and weaver) and Mercy (a homemaker) Webster 2 brothers: Charles & Abraham 2 sisters: Mercy & Jerusha

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Noah Webster

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  1. Noah Webster By: AlexaWegman

  2. Life and Background • b. October 16, 1758 • d. May 28, 1843 • Born in the West Division of Hartford, CT • Fourth of five kids to Noah Sr. (a farmer and weaver) and Mercy (a homemaker) Webster • 2 brothers: Charles & Abraham • 2 sisters: Mercy & Jerusha • Went to Yale University @ 16 years old (1774) • Graduated 4 yrs. later (1778) • Started teaching b/c couldn’t afford to continue into law • Later studied at, and graduated from, law school

  3. Need For Reform • Education still based off of teachings from Great Britain • Noah Webster didn’t like American schools • 70+ kids of all ages crammed in one-room schoolhouses w/ no desks, poor books, and untrained teachers • School books came from England • Webster thought Americans should learn from American books

  4. Contributions • A Grammatical Institute of the English Language: • Part I (1783)- “Blue-back Speller”- spelling based • Part II (1784)- grammar based • Part III (1785)- a reader w/ patriotic & moralistic poetry • A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language (1806); its shorter version A Dictionary…Compiled for the Use of Common Schools (1807, revised 1817) • A Philosophical and Practical Grammar of the English Language (1807) – a school textbook

  5. Contributions Cont. • Webster’s biggest contribution was the American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) • It took 27 years to create and is composed of 70,000+ words • Webster took it upon himself to learn 26 different languages in order to better understand the origin of the English language • The dictionary surpassed any dictionary of its time • a 2nd edition ( “corrected and enlarged”) was published in 1841 as Webster’s Unabridged

  6. Effects • Webster helped distinguish the United States’ English language from that of the U.K./Britain • Did this by establishing a system of rules to govern spelling and grammar • George & Charles Merriam opened a printing and bookselling business (G. & C. Merriam Co.) in 1831, bought unsold copies of the 1841 edition of Webster’s dictionary from Webster’s heirs & secured the rights to create revised editions of the work. They now work under the business name Merriam-Webster Inc., but continue to produce revised copies of Webster’s original work

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