The Recorded Word 追本溯『字』




  There is no tool more valuable in learning a language than a dictionary. It puts the meaning of words right at your fingertips and helps you learn how to express yourself clearly. The next time you don't know what an English word means and have to look it up, you should give thanks to a man named Noah Webster.


  He was the man responsible for putting together and publishing the first American dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, in 1806. It was the first book that truly separated American English from British English. The sequel, An American Dictionary of the English Language, wouldn't be released until over 20 years later. That is because Webster took time to learn 26 languages so that he could find the roots of the more than 70,000 English words included in the book. He would later form a partnership with the Merriam brothers, and the Merriam-Webster brand we know today was born.

  1806 年,他是負責整理和出版美國第一本字典《簡明英語詞典》的人。《簡明英語詞典》是第一本真正區分美式英語和英式英語的書。直到二十多年後才發行了續篇——《美國英語詞典》。那是因為韋伯斯特花時間學習了二十六種語文,如此他才能找到書裡面七萬多個英文單字的字源。他後來和梅里亞姆兄弟結成伙伴的關係,而現今我們所知的《韋氏詞典》才誕生了。

  Of course, Merriam-Webster isn't the only game in town when it comes to dictionaries. Another big name in the word business is Oxford. The Oxford English Dictionary lays claim to being the largest collection of English word definitions. At present, it defines somewhere around 750,000 words, a truly staggering amount.



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