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.
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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.
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==Personal==
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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==
 
==Status==
I don't own this book, but I am listening to the audio book.
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I don't own this book, but I have listened to the audio book.
  
 
==Review==
 
==Review==
 
===Good===
 
===Good===
* The book is enjoyable to read. Stamper has a comfortable writing style and uses a lot of colloquialisms.
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* 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 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]].
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* 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]]''.
 +
* 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]]
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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