Dog Eared

Books we love

Lexicographer's Library

What do wordsmiths read? Here is a trio of recommendations from Grant Barrett, creator of the Double-Tongued Word Wrester's Dictionary and a lexicographer at the Oxford University Press:

Sidney Landau, Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography, second edition. There are several chapters of technical stuff a non-expert probably will just want to skim, but this is not an impersonal book. Landau is highly respected as a lexicographer of quality, so when he uses the word "I" in sentence in this book, it's a passage to pay close attention to.

Herbert C. Morton, The Story of Webster's Third: Philip Gove's Controversial Dictionary and its Critics. The Webster's Third New International Dictionary was both highly lauded and highly loathed when it was released. More than 40 years later, it is still a topic of conversation. This book gives good insight into a common dictionary debate: whether they should tell people how to speak, or merely record how people actually do speak.

K.M. Elisabeth Murray, Caught in the Web of Words: James Murray and the Oxford English Dictionary. The author is the granddaughter of one of the key editors of the OED, the man who made the dictionary what it is today.

Rate this article:

Click here to read more articles from Dog Eared.

Join the conversation

Comments from our users:

Friday April 9th 2010, 10:30 AM
Comment by: Stan Carey (Galway Ireland)Visual Thesaurus Contributor
Caught in the Web of Words is a wonderful book, an eloquent and fascinating testament to James A. H. Murray's unusual — perhaps unique — suitability to the monumental task to which he devoted so much of his life.

Do you have a comment?

Share it with the Visual Thesaurus community.

Your comments:

Sign in to post a comment!

We're sorry, you must be a subscriber to comment.

Click here to subscribe today.

Already a subscriber? Click here to login.