The Lexicographer

Today is World Dictionary Day, marking the birthday of Noah Webster. He published his first dictionary in 1806, but it was his two-volume American Dictionary of the English Language published in 1828 that earned his place in history. He was 70 years old at the time.

So that we can fully appreciate Webster’s work, here are a few statistics: His American Dictionary took 28 years to complete. In preparation he learned 26 languages, including Old English, Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. As a dictionary of American English, Webster radically chose to include new vocabulary of emerging Americanisms like squash, skunk, hickory, chowder and applesauce. He pushed through his ideas of English spelling reform. Some of them took and some of them didn’t; dawter, wimmen, tung.

Despite his efforts, Webster’s dictionary sold just 2,500 copies. He was forced to mortgage his home (in New Haven) to fund a second edition in 1840. His life, from then on was plagued with debt.

The forlorn poet, Emily Dickinson, commented that the “Lexicon” was her “only companion” for years. One biographer said “The dictionary was no mere reference book to her; she read it as a priest his breviary – over and over, page by page, with utter absorption.” I hear you, Emily.

Noah Webster died at the age of 84, never having gained the recognition his work deserved.

Let us honor Webster on this day. There are estimated to be over one million words in the English dictionary. Try to utilize a new one or two of them. Do not fall into illaqueation and allow babblement to maffle your words. Step into new vocabulary, even if that step must be made tardigradously.

Happy Birthday, Noah W.

Blogging

I felt pressed to write a blog about blogging. First, a blog is defined as an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a web page. It is a place to express yourself to the world (yikes). A place to share your thoughts and passions. The original term for blog is weblog or occasionally written web log. Makes sense, right?

The scary thing about blogging is that it is very personal. I want to be real and write from my heart. When you write every day, it is easy to sometimes allow emotions to guide your words.

If ever I offend, please forgive. That is never my intent.  And always feel free to comment.

Now, let’s get back to the business of blogging. Happy Friday! Love you all.

 

Rainy Days (and Mondays)

Writers love rainy days. Everything seems to take a serious, soul-searching turn on a gray, gloomy day. I think we all need that once in a while.

Karen Carpenter* crooned about rainy days and Mondays. She said they always bring her down. I understand the Mondays part. Even worse than a Monday is a Sunday night. When I was working full-time and the kids were young and in school, we had a phrase that described the feeling that hits around 5:00 p.m. – Sunday Night Blues. The struggle was real, still is for many people. But a rainy day…a rainy day is hard to beat. It is true that if the majority of days were rainy, they would not be as special. It is kind of like Christmas decorations. We love them and have a tiny wish that we could keep them up all the time. However, if we did, they would no longer be special, they would no longer bring joy.

So, I will take an occasional gray day and revel in the rain against the window pane and the hot coffee in my mug and hope that I do not see the sun until tomorrow.

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*God bless her dear soul. May she be enjoying cheeseburgers and chocolate cake with Jesus and loving her new heavenly body.