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Noah Webster

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  • Noah Webster



    Name: Noah Webster
    Birth Date: October 16, 1758
    Death Date: May 28, 1843
    Place of Birth: West Hartford, Connecticut, United States
    Place of Death: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
    Nationality: American
    Gender: Male
    Occupations: Lexicographer, Lawyer, Teacher, Journalist, Lobbyist, Essayist and “Father of American Scholarship and Education ”


    ***


    Noah Webster was born on October 16, 1758, in Hartford. Noah's was an average colonial family. His father farmed and worked as a weaver and sower. His mother worked at home. Noah and his two brothers, Charles and Abraham, helped their father with the farm work. Noah's sisters, Mercy and Jerusha, worked with their mother to keep house and to make food and clothing for the family.His father was a descendant of Connecticut Governor John Webster; his mother, Mercy (née Steele; d. 1794), was a descendant of Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony.

    Few people went to college, but Noah loved to learn so his parents let him go to Yale, Connecticut's only college.
    In 1774, at age sixteen, Webster entered Yale College, sharing literary ambitions with his classmate Joel Barlow and tutor Timothy Dwight. His college years were interrupted by terms of military service. After his graduation in 1778, Noah began studying law, but because his father could no longer support him, he took a job as a schoolmaster in Hartford, Litchfield, and Sharon, all in Connecticut. Meanwhile, he read widely and studied law. He was admitted to the bar (an association for lawyers) and received his master of arts degree in 1781. Dissatisfied with the British-made textbooks available for teaching, he determined to produce his own. He had, he said, "too much pride to stand indebted to Great Britain for books to learn our children."


    During his years as a student and then as a schoolteacher, Webster realized the American education system needed to be updated. Sometimes 70 children of all ages were crammed into one-room schoolhouses with no desks, poor books, and untrained teachers. Although this was after the American Revolution, their books came from England, often pledging their allegiance to King George. Webster believed that Americans should learn from American books, so in 1783, he wrote his own textbook: A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. It earned its nickname, the “Blue-Backed Speller”, because of its characteristic blue cover. For over 100 years, Webster’s book taught children to read, spell and pronounce words. It was the most popular American book of its time, selling nearly 100 million copies.


    In 1789, Noah married Rebecca Greenleaf, the daughter of a rich man from Boston. During their long marriage, they had eight children and numerous grandchildren. Webster liked to carry raisins and candies in his pocket for his children to enjoy.The family lived in New Haven, and then moved to Amherst, Massachusetts. There, Webster helped to found Amherst College. The family later moved back to New Haven.


    Webster married well and had joined the elite in Hartford but did not have much money. In 1793, Alexander Hamilton loaned him $1500 to move to New York City to edit a Federalist newspaper. In December, he founded New York's first daily newspaper, American Minerva (later known as The Commercial Advertiser), and edited it for four years.

    In 1801, Webster started working on defining the words that Americans use. He did this because Americans spoke and used words differently than the English, and so people who lived in different parts of the country could speak and spell the same way.


    A 1932 statue of Webster by Korczak Zi??kowski stands in front of the public library of West Hartford, Connecticut



    Slowly, he changed the spelling of words, such that they became "Americanized." He chose s over c in words like defense, he changed the re to er in words like center, he dropped one of the Ls in traveller, and at first he kept the u in words like colour or favour but dropped it in later editions. He also changed "tongue" to "tung."


    In 1806, Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. The following year, at the age of 43, Webster began writing an expanded and comprehensive dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, which would take twenty-seven years to complete. To supplement the documentation of the etymology of the words, Webster learned twenty-six languages, including Old English (Anglo-Saxon), German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit. Webster hoped to standardize American speech, since Americans in different parts of the country spelled, pronounced, and used words differently.


    During the course of his work on the book, the family moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1812, where Webster helped to found Amherst College. In 1822, the family moved back to New Haven, and Webster was awarded an honorary degree from Yale the following year.

    Webster completed his dictionary during his year abroad in 1825 in Paris, France, and at the University of Cambridge. His book contained seventy thousand words, of which twelve thousand had never appeared in a published dictionary before. As a spelling reformer, Webster believed that English spelling rules were unnecessarily complex, so his dictionary introduced American English spellings, , substituting "wagon" for "waggon" and so forth . He also added American words, like "skunk" and "squash", that did not appear in British dictionaries. At the age of seventy, Webster published his dictionary in 1828.


    He died in 1843.But his heritage lived on when a couple of brothers in the printing business, Charles and George Merriam of Springfield Massachusetts, purchased all of the unsold copies of the 1840 dictionary as well as the exclusive publishing rights from his heirs. This was Webster’s most comprehensive work. The Merriams now owned exclusive rights to publish revisions and abridgements. They published the first Merriam-Webster dictionary in 1847. Their line of dictionaries went on uninterrupted and continues to be published today, forever updating the records of the American English language with each new edition.

    Noah Webster accomplished many things in his life. Not only did he fight for an American language, he also fought for copyright laws, a strong federal government, universal education, and the abolition of slavery. In between fighting for these causes, he wrote textbooks, edited magazines, corresponded with men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, helped found Amherst College, raised eight children, and celebrated 54 anniversaries with his beloved wife.

    The Webster childhood home is now a museum where visitors can see copies of his spelling book, grammar manual and dictionaries. The museum also displays china, glassware, a desk, and two clocks owned by the adult Webster.



    Quotes:

    "When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, "just men who will rule in the fear of God." The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws." -History of United States by Noah Webster.


    In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed... . No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.

    Webster's grave at the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut




    SOURCES:
    bookrags.com
    en.wikipedia.org
    notablebiographies.com
    noahwebsterhouse.org
    owled.com
    ویرایش توسط Mehran : http://forum.motarjemonline.com/member/8-mehran در ساعت 03-19-2009, 06:21 PM
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