Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To Bee or Not to Bee 'Pedagogick'

For those who missed it, there's a piece in today's Los Angeles Times about early lexicographers Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster and their influence on spelling. Johnson didn't believe that any word should end with C, and so filled his 3 million-word tome with stuff like "musick" and "publick."

Two generations later, enter Webster, who returned fire with a dictionary that nixed all those extra Ks, along with a lot of U's and Qs (think "colour" and "barque").

What interests me most about pieces like today's Times op-ed is not the content but the news hook. The author found in this week's National Spelling Bee a hook to discuss Johnson and Webster, who related directly to the op-ed writer's book, which he plugs in the tagline.

Still, book-promotion envy aside, I never knew that Noah's story had such a good arck.

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2 comments:

Wordacious said...

Did you notice the date on the article is October 10, 2010?

Curious.

June Casagrande said...

Freaky! No, I didn't notice that. That's especially funny to me because it's my job to catch stuff like that. But when I'm reading for content, I always miss those typos.

The Times has scaled back its staff a lot. I don't know for sure that they've cut back on proofreaders, but it's probable.

Makes this kind of mistake a lot more likely.

Still, it's a weird one. Good catch.

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