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The story of ain't: America, its language, and the most controversial dictionary ever published

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Pub. Date:
2012.
Language:
English
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"It takes true brilliance to lift the arid tellings of lexicographic fussing into the readable realm of the thriller and the bodice-ripper....David Skinner has done precisely this, taking a fine story and honing it to popular perfection." --Simon Winchester, New York Times bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman

The Story of Ain't by David Skinner is the captivating true chronicle of the creation of Merriam Webster's Third New International Dictionary in 1961, the most controversial dictionary ever published. Skinner's surprising and engaging, erudite and witty account will enthrall fans of Winchester's The Professor and the Madman and The Meaning of Everything, and The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs, as it explores a culture in transition and the brilliant, colorful individuals behind it. The Story of Ain't is a smart, often outrageous, and altogether remarkable tale of how egos, infighting, and controversy shaped one of America's most authoritative language texts, sparking a furious language debate that the late, great author David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest) once called "the Fort Sumter of the Usage Wars."

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ISBN:
9780062027467
9780062218094
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 5e74fa79-560d-ede1-a759-a983b2afcb83
Full title story of ain t america its language and the most controversial dictionary ever published
Author skinner david
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-05-20 22:58:42PM
Last Indexed 2018-05-20 23:43:26PM

Solr Details

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author David Skinner
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available_at_catalog Bellevue, Bellevue Kids, Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Non-Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Bellevue - Adult Non-Fiction, Main Library - Adult Non-Fiction
display_description "In 1934, Webster's Second was the great gray eminence of American dictionaries, with 600,000 entries and numerous competitors but no rivals. It served as the all-knowing guide to the world of grammar and information, a kind of one-stop reference work. In 1961, Webster's Third came along and ignited an unprecedented controversy in America's newspapers, universities, and living rooms. The new dictionary's editor, Philip Gove, had overhauled Merriam's long held authoritarian principles to create a reference work that had "no traffic with...artificial notions of correctness or authority. It must be descriptive not prescriptive." Correct use was determined by how the language was actually spoken, and not by "notions of correctness" set by the learned few. Gove's editorial approach had editors and scholars longing for Webster's Second. Reporters across the country sounded off on Gove and his dictionary. The New York Times complained that Webster's had "surrendered to the permissive school that has been busily extending its beachhead on English instruction," the Times called on Merriam to preserve the printing plates for Webster's Second, so that a new start could be made. And soon Dwight MacDonald, a formidable American critic and writer, emerged as Webster's Third's chief nemesis when in the pages of the New Yorker he likened the new dictionary to the end of civilization."-- Provided by publisher.
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primary_isbn 9780062027467
publishDate 2012
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subject_facet Encyclopedias and dictionaries -- History and criticism, English language -- Lexicography -- History -- 20th century, Gove, Philip Babcock, -- 1902-1972, Webster's third new international dictionary of the English language unabridged
title_display The story of ain't : America, its language, and the most controversial dictionary ever published
title_full The Story of Ain't America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published, The story of ain't : America, its language, and the most controversial dictionary ever published / David Skinner
title_short The story of ain't :
title_sub America, its language, and the most controversial dictionary ever published
topic_facet Encyclopedias and dictionaries, English language, Gove, Philip Babcock, History, History and criticism, Lexicography, Nonfiction