- Copertina rigida: 296 pagine
- Editore: Pantheon Books (14 marzo 2017)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 110187094X
- ISBN-13: 978-1101870945
- Peso di spedizione: 499 g
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 96.220 in Libri in altre lingue (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Libri in altre lingue)
- Visualizza indice completo
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 14 mar 2017
|Nuovo a partire da||Usato da|
- Scegli tra gli oltre 8.500 punti di ritiro in Italia
- I clienti Prime beneficiano di consegne illimitate presso i punti di ritiro senza costi aggiuntivi
- Trova il tuo punto di ritiro preferito ed aggiungilo alla tua rubrica degli indirizzi
- Indica il punto di ritiro in cui vuoi ricevere il tuo ordine nella pagina di conferma d’ordine
Chi ha acquistato questo articolo ha acquistato anche
"As a writer, Kory Stamper can do anything with words: define them, split them, lump them, agglute them, and make them work for her every bit as ferociously and precisely as she works for them in her day job as a far from mild-mannered lexicographer at Merriam-Webster. You will never take a dictionary entry for granted again." —Mary Norris, bestselling author of Between You & Me
"A love letter to letters themselves... A cheerful and thoughtful rebuke of the cult of the grammar scolds. Stamper [is] a wry and charming correspondent. Word by Word is, like a dictionary itself, a composite affair: It’s a memoir that is also an explanation of the work that writing a dictionary entails." —Megan Garber, The Atlantic
"An unlikely page-turner…Stamper displays a contagious enthusiasm for words...Illuminating." —The New Yorker
"Delightful… Informed, irreverent and witty…A gloriously (occasionally even uproariously) well written book, and unsurprisingly erudite. Do read [Word by Word]." —Stevie Godson, New York Journal of Books
KORY STAMPER is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, where she also writes, edits, and appears in the “Ask the Editor” video series. She blogs regularly on language and lexicography at www.korystamper.com, and her writing has appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times, and on Slate.com.Visualizza tutta la Descrizione prodotto
Non è necessario possedere un dispositivo Kindle. Scarica una delle app Kindle gratuite per iniziare a leggere i libri Kindle sul tuo smartphone, tablet e computer.
Per scaricare una app gratuita, inserisci il numero di cellulare.
Garanzia e recesso: Se vuoi restituire un prodotto entro 30 giorni dal ricevimento perché hai cambiato idea, consulta la nostra pagina d'aiuto sul Diritto di Recesso. Se hai ricevuto un prodotto difettoso o danneggiato consulta la nostra pagina d'aiuto sulla Garanzia Legale. Per informazioni specifiche sugli acquisti effettuati su Marketplace consulta… Maggiori informazioni la nostra pagina d'aiuto su Resi e rimborsi per articoli Marketplace.
Se sei un venditore per questo prodotto, desideri suggerire aggiornamenti tramite il supporto venditore?
Le recensioni clienti più utili su Amazon.com
This book is a distillation of all of the best parts of the job; it made me fiercely miss being a lexicographer, but it was 100% accurate.
Stamper sets the tone in her opening chapter, giving readers a first taste of what’s to come: a candid portrayal of the ins and outs of lexicography, delivered with sharp wit and exactitude. Recalling the day she was hired by Merriam-Webster, Stamper invites readers to the hushed confines and inelegant cubicles of the “modest two-story brick building” in Springfield, Massachusetts where word mavens work, in some instances for months at a time, to extricate the definition, pronunciation, and etymological origin of individual words. Such work requires a reverence for the English language not found in the average person.
"Lexicographers spend a lifetime swimming through the English language in a way that no one else does; the very nature of lexicography demands it. English is a beautiful, bewildering language, and the deeper you dive into it, the more effort it takes to come up to the surface for air."
Wading through the English language to pinpoint the perfect definition of a word requires a noiseless work environment. The “weird sort of monastic” devotion lexicographers give to the English language, and their hallowed approach to the daily challenges of providing the public with an up-to-date dictionary, lends itself to a work space that demands people speak in whispers and celebrate their lexical triumphs with silent fist pumps. How else, Stamper asks, could a lexicographer be expected to determine the difference between the words measly, small, and teensy?
"There’s nothing worse than being just a syllable’s length away from the perfect, Platonic ideal of the definition for “measly,” being able to see it crouching in the shadows of your mind, only to have it skitter away when your co-worker begins a long and loud conversation that touches on the new coffee filters, his colonoscopy, and the chances that the Sox will go all the way this year."
Colonoscopies are just the beginning of Stamper’s comedic contributions. She blends sophistication with humor at every turn, making the act of reading about dictionaries an absolute delight. Stamper was drawn to the life of a lexicographer, she asserts, recounting an incident when she embarrassed her daughter in public:
“Are you taking pictures for work again?”
“Oh my God,” [my daughter] moaned, “can you ever just, like, live like a normal person?”
“Hey, I didn’t choose the dictionary life – ”
“Just stop – ”
“ – the dictionary life – ”
“ – chose me,” I finished, and she threw her head back and sighed in exasperation.
Many of Stamper’s amusing asides are delivered as footnotes, such as her reaction to the 1721 edition of Nathaniel Bailey’s An [sic] Universal Etymological English Dictionary, whose subtitle goes on for another two hundred and twenty-two words and garners Stamper’s facetious remark: "They sure don’t title dictionaries like they used to."
facetious \ fuh-see-shuh s \ adj: 1: not meant to be taken seriously or literally 2: amusing; humorous 3: lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous.
It stands to reason that a person who specializes in defining words would demonstrate an exemplary understanding of the English language, and Stamper more than proves herself a talented wordsmith. Her use of ten-dollar words is employed in a friendly manner. Some words are defined in the footnotes, while others remain undefined and will, fittingly, send many readers running to the dictionary. While the procedure for compiling defined words into a viable resource is fascinating, Word by Word would not be as entertaining were it not infused with Stamper’s snarky personality.
The work of a lexicographer, however, requires that the person – rather, the lexicographer’s personality – be removed from the equation. “You must set aside your own linguistic and lexical prejudices about what makes a word worthy, beautiful, or right, to tell the truth about language,” Stamper explains, because writing definitions isn’t about making hard and fast rules for a word – as so many people are inclined to think – but rather, it’s an act of recording how words are being used in speech and, more importantly, in publications.
The common misperception that lexicographers are the definitive authority on the English language – whose definitions and pronunciations of words are akin to law ordained by divine beings – has resulted in more than a few letters being sent by confused or outraged individuals to Merriam-Webster’s physical and digital inboxes. Perhaps the most compelling example of this concerns the 2003 release of the Eleventh Collegiate dictionary in which the word “marriage” was redefined to include the sub-sense (a secondary meaning of a word): "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage." This new sub-sense was added because in the late 1990’s, when revisions to the Collegiate Dictionary began, the issue of same-sex marriage was widely debated, prevalent not just in speech but also in nearly every major news publication.
Six years after its publication, one person noticed the new sub-sense in the Eleventh Collegiate dictionary’s definition of “marriage,” took offense to it, and launched a fiery write-in campaign that inundated Stamper’s inbox with hundreds of complaints and accusations against Merriam-Webster, along with numerous threats to harm Stamper. These angry letter-writers maintained a strident adherence to the misconception that lexicographers somehow shape language, culture, and religion. Further, they failed to understand that the very act of writing about gay marriage (regardless of the vehemence they assigned to the idea of same-sex couples being legally wed) worked to create citational evidence of the word “marriage” being widely used in relation to gay couples. In other words, the efforts made by the appalled letter-writers indirectly worked to validate that the word “marriage” had, in fact, been due for a revisal of its definition to encompass its many usages.
From dealing with irate letter-writers to spending months teasing out the proper definition of overly complicated words like “is” or “a,” the work of a lexicographer is thankless. Lexicographers don’t have their names assigned to the dictionaries on which they work tirelessly. And the English language, fluid in nature and ever changing, never stops demanding that dedicated word connoisseurs hunch over their desks and puzzle out the most effective definition to encapsulate a words new usage.
"When the dictionary finally hits the market, there is no grand party or celebration. (Too loud, too social.) We’re already working on the next update to that dictionary, because language has moved on. There will never be a break. A dictionary is out of date the minute that it’s done."
Word by Word is a sublime romp through the secret life of dictionaries; a guaranteed rapturous read for word lovers, grammar fanatics, and linguists.
Stamper is passionate about her work. "The more I learned," she writes, " the more I fell in love with this wild, vibrant whore of a language." Her book abounds with charming examples of the intensity she and other Merriam-Webster editors bring to their jobs. And no wonder: it's clearly hard work.
Unless you're already familiar with the ways and means of lexicography, you'll be amazed at the extraordinary pains the Merriam-Webster staff sometimes takes simply to define a single word. "By the time a word is put in print either on the page or online, it's generally been seen by a minimum of ten editors." Stamper describes the process, step by step, in language so lively you'll never think about the world of dictionaries as stuffy ever again. "What appears to be a straightforward word ends up being a linguistic fun house of doors that open into air and staircases that lead nowhere," she writes. For example, at one point Stamper's job was to revise the definition of "take." That seemingly simple word, it turns out, means twenty different things. Sorting through all the citations set aside to illustrate those different definitions was a Herculean task. It required "a month of nonstop editorial work." But when Stamper bragged (or complained) to a table-full of editors at a dinner about the length of time she'd invested in a single word, a lexicographer from the Oxford English Dictionary was amused: "'I revised "run," he said quietly, then smiled. 'It took me nine months.'" Stamper explains: "Of course it [took nine months]. In the OED, "run" has over six hundred separate senses [definitions] . . ."
And yet language, especially English, changes far more quickly than lexicographers could ever possibly keep up, Stamper explains. "A dictionary is out of date the minute that it's done."
In an extended discussion of English grammar, Stamper will disabuse you of any lingering notion that ours is a tidy and rational language. With example after example, she demonstrates the sheer illogic of the rules of grammar. "[W]here do these rules come from, if not from actual use?" she asks. "Most of them are the personal peeves, codified into law, of dead white men of yore . . . Standard English as it is presented by grammarians and pedants is a dialect that is based on a mostly fictional, static, and Platonic ideal of usage." (The italics are Stamper's.)
Throughout her book, Stamper is free with profanity. For example, she drops the "f-bomb" 17 times. At one point she explains that the profanity is to make her come across as cooler than she is.
There are plenty of surprises in Word by Word. "As you go through the written record, you'll find that Shakespeare used double negatives and Jane Austen used 'ain't.' You'll find that new and disputed coinages have come in and have not taken away from the language as it was used, but added to it; that words previously considered horrendous or ugly—words like 'can't'—are now unremarkable."
If you love language, you'll be enchanted by this brilliant and funny book.