Difference between revisions of "Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries"

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'''''Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries''''' is a book about lexicography by [[Kory Stamper]]. In it, she describes the process lexicographers use to determine if something is a word, how they classify and group them, and a mini biography of her life and work at Merriam-Webster and some of the more interesting and controversial words she's had to work on.
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[[Image:Word By Word - Secret Life of Dictionaries, The - Hardcover - USA - 1st Edition.jpg|thumb|256x256px|US hardcover, 1st edition.]]
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'''''Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries''''' is a book about lexicography by [[Kory Stamper]]. In it, she describes in detail the process lexicographers use to create dictionaries including how to determine if a word is worthy of an entry word, how to classify them, and how to write and change definitions over time. The books also includes a mini biography of Stamper's life and work at Merriam-Webster and some of the more interesting and controversial words she's had to work on.
  
 
==Personal==
 
==Personal==
Line 10: Line 12:
 
===Good===
 
===Good===
 
* The book is enjoyable to read. Stamper has a comfortable writing style and uses a lot of colloquialisms and doesn't shy from colorful curse words when the situation calls for it.
 
* The book is enjoyable to read. Stamper has a comfortable writing style and uses a lot of colloquialisms and doesn't shy from colorful curse words when the situation calls for it.
 +
* After reading this book, I came away with a much better understanding and appreciation of the language, the writing, and the science of trying to understand it.
 
* Stamper uses a wide array of vocabulary throughout the book. Although, as a lexicographer, it would be criminal if she did not.
 
* Stamper uses a wide array of vocabulary throughout the book. Although, as a lexicographer, it would be criminal if she did not.
 
* Stamper does a good job explaining the basics of the English language including grammar, word usage, and the various categories we use to describe them. She also neatly explains the job of a lexicographer and how it can be unexpectedly difficult.
 
* Stamper does a good job explaining the basics of the English language including grammar, word usage, and the various categories we use to describe them. She also neatly explains the job of a lexicographer and how it can be unexpectedly difficult.
 
* Stamper makes a great case for descriptive rather than prescriptive English, explains why respelling words to match their pronunciation is a doomed prospect, and discusses why English is nourished by dialects, especially those viewed as inferior, and points out how the hatred of dialects is often a [[dog-whistle politics|dog whistle]].
 
* Stamper makes a great case for descriptive rather than prescriptive English, explains why respelling words to match their pronunciation is a doomed prospect, and discusses why English is nourished by dialects, especially those viewed as inferior, and points out how the hatred of dialects is often a [[dog-whistle politics|dog whistle]].
 
* The audio book is read by the author, who sounds not unlike [[Tracy Grandstaff]], the voice actor of Daria from the show ''[[Daria]]''.
 
* The audio book is read by the author, who sounds not unlike [[Tracy Grandstaff]], the voice actor of Daria from the show ''[[Daria]]''.
* After reading this book, I came away with a much better understanding and appreciation of the language, the writing, and the science of trying to understand it.
+
* It was interesting hearing about all the shit Stamper had to deal with answering the hundreds of emails from people who either suck at English, or don't understand what a dictionary is.
  
 
===Bad===
 
===Bad===
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===Ugly===
 
===Ugly===
 
* Nothing.
 
* Nothing.
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==Media==
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===Covers===
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<gallery>
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Word By Word - Secret Life of Dictionaries, The - Hardcover - USA - 1st Edition.jpg|US hardcover, 1st edition.
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Word By Word - Secret Life of Dictionaries, The - Paperback - USA.jpg|US paperback.
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</gallery>
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===Videos===
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{{#ev:youtube|4-GZljHliRU|256|inline|Interview - The A.V. Club.|frame}}
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{{#ev:youtube|Yguy8tY15dM|256|inline|Book lecture.|frame}}
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{{#ev:youtube|sFgxVuuYLCU|256|inline|Book lecture.|frame}}
  
 
==Links==
 
==Links==
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[[Category: Books]]
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[[Category: Books|Word By Word: Secret Life of Dictionaries, The]]
[[Category: Non-Fiction]]
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[[Category: Non-Fiction|Word By Word: Secret Life of Dictionaries, The]]
[[Category: Language]]
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[[Category: Language|Word By Word: Secret Life of Dictionaries, The]]
[[Category: English]]
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[[Category: English|Word By Word: Secret Life of Dictionaries, The]]
[[Category: Etymology]]
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[[Category: Etymology|Word By Word: Secret Life of Dictionaries, The]]
[[Category: Books I've Read]]
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[[Category: Lexicography|Word By Word: Secret Life of Dictionaries, The]]
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[[Category: Books I've Read|Word By Word: Secret Life of Dictionaries, The]]

Latest revision as of 17:01, 20 May 2020

US hardcover, 1st edition.

Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries is a book about lexicography by Kory Stamper. In it, she describes in detail the process lexicographers use to create dictionaries including how to determine if a word is worthy of an entry word, how to classify them, and how to write and change definitions over time. The books also includes a mini biography of Stamper's life and work at Merriam-Webster and some of the more interesting and controversial words she's had to work on.

Personal

Being a fan of words and dictionaries, I started reading this book. After only a short way into it I was already loving it, so I quickly read through the rest of it and found it very enjoyable.

Status

I don't own this book, but I have listened to the audio book.

Review

Good

  • The book is enjoyable to read. Stamper has a comfortable writing style and uses a lot of colloquialisms and doesn't shy from colorful curse words when the situation calls for it.
  • After reading this book, I came away with a much better understanding and appreciation of the language, the writing, and the science of trying to understand it.
  • Stamper uses a wide array of vocabulary throughout the book. Although, as a lexicographer, it would be criminal if she did not.
  • Stamper does a good job explaining the basics of the English language including grammar, word usage, and the various categories we use to describe them. She also neatly explains the job of a lexicographer and how it can be unexpectedly difficult.
  • Stamper makes a great case for descriptive rather than prescriptive English, explains why respelling words to match their pronunciation is a doomed prospect, and discusses why English is nourished by dialects, especially those viewed as inferior, and points out how the hatred of dialects is often a dog whistle.
  • The audio book is read by the author, who sounds not unlike Tracy Grandstaff, the voice actor of Daria from the show Daria.
  • It was interesting hearing about all the shit Stamper had to deal with answering the hundreds of emails from people who either suck at English, or don't understand what a dictionary is.

Bad

  • Nothing.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Media

Covers

Videos

Interview - The A.V. Club.
Book lecture.
Book lecture.

Links

Link-GoodReads.png