Saturday, April 14, 2012

Noah Webster and American Spelling

Today Garrison Keillor (Writer's Almanac) reminds us of what an impact Noah Webster had on the spelling of American English. Excerpt:
So in 1783, he published the first part of his three-part A Grammatical Institute, of the English Language; the first section was eventually retitled The American Spelling Book, but usually called by the nickname "Blue-Backed Speller." The Blue-Backed Speller taught American children the rules of spelling, and it simplified words — it was Webster who took the letter "u" out of English words like colour and honour; he took a "g" out of waggon, a "k" off the end of musick, and switched the order of the "r" and "e" in theatre and centre.
Keillor is talking about Webster because it was on April 14, 1828, that the first edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language was published. Of course, he also mentions that on this date in 1865 Lincoln was assassinated and in 1912 the Titanic struck the iceberg. 

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