WORD BY WORD BOOK
Start by marking “Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries” as Want to Read: Not so, proclaims Kory Stamper, longstanding lexicographer for Merriam-Webster. Lexicographer/Merriam-Webster Dictionary-writer (and blogger/vlogger) Kory Stamper provides, with Word by Word, a. We think of English as a fortress to be defended, but a better analogy is to think of English as a child. We love and nurture it into being, and. myavr.info: Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries (): Kory Stamper: Books.
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Do you have strong feelings about the word “irregardless”? this vastly entertaining account of how dictionaries are made is a must-read for word mavens. Word. I WROTE THIS BOOK AND YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY BUY IT , IT IS GREAT!. The lexicographer Kory Stamper's new book, Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, is an eloquent defense of a “live and let live”. Dictionaries occupy a unique cultural space straddling invisibility and authority. Those of us with a keen interest in words, be it professional.
View all 3 comments. May 26, Carlos rated it really liked it. I liked this book a lot, but I do have to admit that it was a dense one and it appeals to a sparse group of people. This book needs to be read slow to be enjoyed in a more satisfying manner.
I liked how the author made us feel her love for the English Language and how she applied that to her job as editor of one of the most know dictionaries out here. If you consider yourself a logophile , then this book is definitely for you. Not the most exciting one but full of a minutiae of information tha I liked this book a lot, but I do have to admit that it was a dense one and it appeals to a sparse group of people.
Not the most exciting one but full of a minutiae of information that will leave you thinking View 2 comments. Jul 07, Jessica Jeffers rated it really liked it Shelves: This was a fun, fascinating read that gives you some insight into the process of making the Merriam Webster dictionary.
Kory Stamper breaks down how decisions are made regarding what goes into the dictionary it's descriptive, not prescriptive! She gets into the differences between lexicographers' and grammarians' views on the English language and examines how words evolve over time and across d This was a fun, fascinating read that gives you some insight into the process of making the Merriam Webster dictionary.
She gets into the differences between lexicographers' and grammarians' views on the English language and examines how words evolve over time and across dialects. She talks about communication they receive, from people asking questions like where to buy something or people who think they invented a word or know best how it should be used. Though she didn't get into whatever genius runs their goddamn Twitter account, which is what I want to be when I grow up.
Despite the fact it covers some hardcore word nerdery or perhaps because of that , it's very informal and self-effacing in its tone. It's not stiff at all, as you might expect. Stamper writes in a conversational tone that suggests that her normal kind of conversation is a little quirky and hyper, laughing at her own weird jokes and and a learned ability to shrug off the people who don't find her funny.
It's a little disorganized, though, bouncing around between ideas without a clear sense of structure. And I felt that some of the chapters were kind of skimmable--pronunciation isn't that interesting, even if it's important to dictionaries.
There's a lot of little tidbits that I loved from here, including her horror at people who say nonsense like "done work" I'm looking at you, Philly and South Jersey, and your disdain for prepositions , but my favorite piece of trivia from this book, because I am never going to be mature ever, no matter how old I get: Because when you trace the word back to its German origins, you find it means 'fart goblin.
Jan 18, Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it Shelves: I would wager that if you look at a list of the hardest jobs in the world, lexicologist would not be on it…. These dedicated people are insane geniuses whose entire lives are made up of words; they wake up in the middle of the night to jot down a thought or dream that they had which might help them in editing the dictionary; they listen to the conversation of others to find clues as to how English is being used; they read about new sciences that may bring a new word to the lan I would wager that if you look at a list of the hardest jobs in the world, lexicologist would not be on it….
These dedicated people are insane geniuses whose entire lives are made up of words; they wake up in the middle of the night to jot down a thought or dream that they had which might help them in editing the dictionary; they listen to the conversation of others to find clues as to how English is being used; they read about new sciences that may bring a new word to the language.
This book, written by one of these geniuses is a must-read for those of us who love words. Dictionaries, whether printed or electronic are constantly being updated and it falls to the lexicographer to be sure that all nuances of language are covered.
OK, that seems alright but wait….. And that is just the beginning of the work that the lexicographer has to do when working on one particular word. It can take weeks to clearly define its use.
And what about slang words or profanity? And we are told that the shortest words are the hardest words….. The author takes us through the process of definition and the use of language and does it with humor. Be warned that this is a slow read and it helps to know a bit about grammar and how to diagram a sentence.
But it is worth it and may cause you to think twice before you use a certain word or phrase.
View all 4 comments. Mar 10, Suzze Tiernan rated it it was amazing.
When I was in about 6th grade, when my class went to the library, I would take the 6" or so thick dictionary off its podium and sit with it, looking for words I didn't know. It's just lovely. Written by a lexicographer at Miriam-Webster, it's an ode to words, definitions, and pronunciations.
I love the acknowledgements, written as definitions. The book you didn't even know you wanted to read! Who would have thought a book about dictionaries and lexicographers could be so completely enjoyable and immensely entertaining!
I would not have immediately gravitated to a book like this, imagining that it would be much too dry, and better suited for hard-core word nerds and academics! I mean, The book you didn't even know you wanted to read! Boy, was I wrong… The author, Kory Stamper, may be a word-nerd of the highest order, but she's a hip and funny one!
She had no qualms see the fancy word I used there? All words are made-up: Do you think we find them fully formed on the ocean floor, or mine for them in some remote part of Wales? You can trust the reviews that this book is truly not just for hard-core word-nerds. Audio Notes: Kory narrates the audiobook herself, and does an outstanding job! Her vibrancy and passion shine through in her narration, and you get a wonderful sense of her appreciation for the funnier side of her job and of all things English language in general.
Trigger alert: Because of course, those same words are in the dictionary too, right?! Sep 28, Louise rated it it was amazing Shelves: Kory Stamper takes you inside Merriam Webster to show you how their dictionary is made. You can see how the lexicographers and the company they work for are dedicated to their product. Dictionary users are usually not aware of all that goes into creating these reference works. Most surely will not know how a publisher decides when a new word is Kory Stamper takes you inside Merriam Webster to show you how their dictionary is made.
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries
Most surely will not know how a publisher decides when a new word is worthy of inclusion or that one lexicographer only produces entries a year. Each part of writing an entry is tedious. Stamper shows how once you decide a word is a noun, verb and adjective uses come to your attention.
A pronunciation expert listens to speeches, movies, YouTube and co-workers who read from flash cards to write the sounds using proprietary markings. Throughout, Stamper shows the problem of writing a definition. Defining words seeps into the lives of lexicographers who surreptitiously snap photos of advertising. I was surprised that M-W maintains policies long ago discarded elsewhere in downsizing and budget cutting. Every letter M-W receives is personally answered, not by a PR department, but by actual lexicographers.
M-W has what appears to be a lengthy training period and its training manuals are very detailed. Neither has it skimped on its research process and maintains extensive paper files from the past. If you are interested in words, you will enjoy this book. View all 5 comments. Mar 26, Joe Gaspard rated it it was amazing. If you love dictionaries, you'll love this book. Written by a confirmed Descriptivist who cannot always control a bit of the Prescriptivist still lurking within.
Here's a great paragraph from Stamper's book - If you like the paragraph, I'm betting you will like the book: We think of English as a fortress to be defended, but a better analogy is to think of English as a child. As English grows, it lives its own life, and this is right and healthy. We can tell it to clean itself up and act more like Latin; we can throw tantrums and start learning French instead.
But we will never really be the boss of it. View 1 comment. There are not enough of us around to even see every word in the language, let alone define every word in the language.
But in all fairness, I loved it as much as I love reading dictionary entries, which is a lot. No sarcasm, just pure word nerd bliss! Speaking of capital-n Nerd! Interesting and very charming. What a treat The opening is hysterical. There are some slow early chapters but once you get into the book a bit it reads like a love letter to language, culture, hard work, and creativity.
I thoroughly enjoyed Word by Word. Sep 01, Bruna Miranda rated it really liked it Shelves: Pra qualquer outra pessoa vai parecer a coisa mais estranha da Terra. Mar 01, Toni rated it it was amazing Shelves: I adore this book; more specifically, the audiobook. If Kory Stamper ever needs a side job, she definitely can become a narrator for audio books. I never realized the toil that goes into creating and maintaining a dictionary, whether in print or online.
Excellent work lexicographers from Merriam Webster.
View all 7 comments. This book is probably not a book for everybody. If you are the type of person who goes for action movies, for example, or loves to watch a good, hard game of football, well, you might just pass this book up. But if you have always secretly thought that it was be a fine, fine job to carefully investigate and define words, to search out just the right way to explain wards, to figure out how to pronounce words That's what Kory does for a living.
She writes the dictionary. And in this book, she shares her work with us readers. No, it's not an action movie, and, no, it's not a game of football, but somehow Kory makes me know that her job is Apr 30, Sasha Tagger rated it it was ok Shelves: I love reading about languages, their development, etymology etc. I speak and read freely five languages, and understand more or less a few others. But this book is too wordy and rather boring.
I gave up after the first pages. Also, she uses too many rare or regional words I've never encountered before, while they contribute nothing to clarity or style, just showing up. Nov 12, thefourthvine rated it it was amazing Shelves: I loved this book in a way that makes me totally unqualified to recommend it to anyone. In the middle of this book, my wife and I had this conversation: You basically have the same job she doe I loved this book in a way that makes me totally unqualified to recommend it to anyone.
You basically have the same job she does.
She — hmm. Fairly different, anyway.
A History of Punctuation for the Internet Age
I loved her description of the process of learning what English grammar really is: I also loved the behind-the-scenes look at the life of a lexicographer. She also has some fascinating stories about the worst best idea in the world: The book is fascinating and funny. But I will. If you love language, if you use dictionaries, if you write things, this book is worth your time.
Dec 08, Karen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Two typos and three "snuck"s; otherwise a perfect book for us word nerds. View all 6 comments. Aug 01, Sara rated it really liked it Shelves: Surprisingly moving, both for its unabashed love of words and language and for its description about how fraught words can be - politically, sexually, racially, socially.
This book about how dictionaries are made, made me have the feels. Jun 17, Kim Clifton rated it it was amazing. An incredibly thorough and fascinating look at the process of writing a dictionary, and a defense of the dictionary's job as a recorder of usage instead of a prescriber. I gave it five stars in appreciation for the intensive research that went into creating this, but four stars in terms of my actual interest in reading paragraphs full of citations or pronunciations.
I enjoyed the parts that felt most like a memoir-- Stamper explaining how she got her job and Merriam-Webster or telling anecdotes An incredibly thorough and fascinating look at the process of writing a dictionary, and a defense of the dictionary's job as a recorder of usage instead of a prescriber.
I enjoyed the parts that felt most like a memoir-- Stamper explaining how she got her job and Merriam-Webster or telling anecdotes of her definition-writing training classes or the hate mail she's received based on the definition of "marriage"-- however, the parts where Stamper goes deep into one word and traces its own defining history grow quickly tedious. I assume this is because the audiobook includes all the footnotes, and as a reader I would have had the option of skipping.
Probably the nerdiest book I will ever read, and I'm quite pleased I did. Mar 12, Susan Albert rated it it was amazing Shelves: Kory Stamper's book, Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, lets me in on all the dirty little secrets of dictionary-making a lot like making sausages, it turns out. As Stamper says, we grew up with the idea that English is "a fortress to be defended," when a better analogy would be to think of it as a gro Kory Stamper's book, Word by Word: As Stamper says, we grew up with the idea that English is "a fortress to be defended," when a better analogy would be to think of it as a growing child, willful and impulsive.
We will never really be the boss of it. And that's why it flourishes.
Oct 23, Annie rated it it was amazing. A fun, informative, surprisingly unpretentious book. For instance: Girl, same. See also: The coolest fun fact: Dec 07, Ryan rated it it was amazing Shelves: I wish I'd been a lexocologist May 08, Emily rated it it was amazing Shelves: I love this book so much I'd marry it, or at least I feel the need to proselytize everyone I meet about the joys of "this dictionary book I just read. I also recommend it to the book club, so here's hoping I get to read it again later.
Should this come with a disclaimer?
My husband and I love A Way with Words and have spent many hours enjoying those weird and delightful regional variations th I love this book so much I'd marry it, or at least I feel the need to proselytize everyone I meet about the joys of "this dictionary book I just read.
My husband and I love A Way with Words and have spent many hours enjoying those weird and delightful regional variations that creep into the language. He was recently riding in a car with someone who said it was the worst show on radio. I guess lexicographical delight is not for everyone, but if you're someone who has a interest in words, I highly recommend it.
May 20, Michelle rated it liked it Shelves: Who reads books about how dictionaries are made? Nerds like me. Being a nerd, I found this book to be very interesting and informative. It had a good mix of information about the dictionary business, language usage, word origin, and the history of language and dictionaries.
Unfortunately I also found this book very hard to read. Overall I was quite disappointed with the quality of the writing. I felt like the book was very poorly organized, repetitive, and wordy. I also didn't care for th Who reads books about how dictionaries are made? I also didn't care for the light-hearted tone and the author's attempts to make this into a memoir. There is good stuff to be found in this book, but reading it was such a slog that I'm not really sure it's worth it, even for nerds like me.
Who'd think that a book about lexicography would be fun? Kory Stamper describes herself as a word nerd and socially awkward, but Word by Word had me laughing — and thinking — and wanting to read passages aloud. This doesn't mean it's a light book, but it certainly was a pleasure to read.
Brimming with intelligence and personality, this vastly entertaining account of how dictionaries are made is a must-read for word mavens. Many of us take dictionaries for granted, and few may realize that the process of writing dictionaries is, in fact, as lively and dynamic as language itself.
Follow the Author
With sharp wit and irreverence, Kory Stamper cracks open the complex, obsessive world of lexicography, from the agonizing decisions about what to define and how to do it, to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. She explains why small words are the most difficult to define, how it can take nine months to define a single word, and how our biases about language and pronunciation can have tremendous social influence.
Word by Word brings to life the hallowed halls and highly idiosyncratic cubicles of Merriam-Webster, a startlingly rich world inhabited by quirky and erudite individuals who quietly shape the way we communicate. Kory Stamper is a lexicographer who spent almost two decades writing dictionaries at Merriam-Webster. A cheerful and thoughtful rebuke of the cult of the grammar scolds. Stamper leads us through her own lexicographical bildungsroman, exploring how she fell in love with words and showing us how the dictionary works, and how it interacts with the world that it strives to reflect.
You will never take a dictionary entry for granted again. Stamper displays a contagious enthusiasm for words and a considerable talent for putting them together.
Where do our words come from? How and why do their meanings change year to year, century to century? An exuberant mash note to language. Part memoir, part workplace chronicle and part history lesson. A paean to the craft of lexicography. By turns amusing, frustrating, surprising, and above all, engrossing. It is perhaps unsurprising, given her line of work, that Stamper employs words with delightful precision in her writing.
Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer. Read An Excerpt. Paperback —. Buy the Audiobook Download:We want to hear what you think about this article. They are one of the few immediate ways we have to take that small piece of reality that is ours—the mind, the self, the soul, choose whichever word in the dictionary seems most apt to you—and offer it to other people.
But if you have always secretly thought that it was be a fine, fine job to carefully investigate and define words, to search out just the right way to explain wards, to figure out how to pronounce words Jul 07, Jessica Jeffers rated it really liked it Shelves: Debut Author. She gets into the differences between lexicographers' and grammarians' views on the English language and examines how words evolve over time and across dialects. View all 22 comments.
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