California State University, Northridge WordmarkOviatt Library WordmarkOviatt Library Catalog Wordmark
Author Skinner, David, 1973-
Title The story of ain't : America, its language, and the most controversial dictionary ever published / David Skinner.
Published New York, NY : Harper, [2012]
Book Cover

 Floor4  PE1617.W43 S58 2012    IN LIBRARY
Edition First edition.
Description xiv, 349 pages ; 24 cm
Content Type text
Format volume
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 309-331) and index.
Contents Preface -- The story of ain't -- Dramatis personae -- Acknowledgements -- Notes -- Index
Summary "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.
Subject Webster's third new international dictionary of the English language unabridged.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries -- History and criticism.
English language -- Lexicography -- History -- 20th century.
Gove, Philip Babcock, 1902-1972.
ISBN 9780062027467
OCLC number 777622746