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Noah Webster

Noah Webster

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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