Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Noah Webster's spelling changes (wasRe: English diglossia)

From:J Y S Czhang <czhang23@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 4, 2003, 7:27
en memo 2003:02:01 02.11.44 gogo, NikTaylor (yonjuuni@EARTHLINK.NET) kwo mii
aen graffii:

>J Y S Czhang wrote: >> Never say never. Noah Webster (1758-1843), American lexicographer, >> proposed many spelling reforms of many individual words that are now >>taken for granted - especially in America. Of course, not _all_ Webster's
>> were taken to. > >Actually, most of the ones that were adapted were already in use. >Americans were already writing "color" and "center" long before Webster >came along. He just legitimized those spellings.
That maybe so: Webster put forth in 1783 many spelling changes - or guidelines - in his "Blue-Backed Speller" or "A Grammatical Institute, of the English Language, Comprising, An early, concise, and systematic Method of Education, Designed for the Use of English Schools in America." So perhaps Webster "codified" already existing tendencies and extrapolated more, i.e. use of _-or_ for _-our (as in "humor/humour") and _-er_ for _-re_ (as in "letter/lettre"); _fetus_ instead of _foetus_, _encyclopedia_ instead of _encyclopaedia_, _catalog_ /_catalogue_, _ traveler_/_traveller_ ... Calling Webster's spelling reform "a successful reform," David Crystal (in _The Cambridge Encyc. of Language_) writes: "The differences between British and American spelling show that changes can be introduced if circumstances are right.... In his later writings, Webster came to advocate spelling reform." Hanuman Zhang, 3-Toed-Sloth-Style Gungfu Typist ;) "the sloth is a chinese poet upsidedown" --- Jack Kerouac {1922-69} "The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension." - Ezra Pound "One thing foreigners, computers, and poets have in common is that they make unexpected linguistic associations." --- Jasia Reichardt "There is no reason for the poet to be limited to words, and in fact the poet is most poetic when inventing languages. Hence the concept of the poet as 'language designer'." --- O. B. Hardison, Jr. "La poésie date d' aujour d'hui." (Poetry dates from today) "La poésie est en jeu." (Poetry is in play) --- Blaise Cendrars