Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Labor Day (4½ Stars)
This is a beautiful film, despite the word "Labour" being spelt wrong in the title. When I was in Berlin studying Linguistics we were told by a professor not to be snobbish with alternate national spellings; we should accept the variations as equally valid. For years I followed the professor's advice in my naive belief that the American variations were the result of gradual change over the centuries. It's only in the last few years that I discovered that this wasn't the case. The American changes didn't happen slowly, they were the invention of one man, Noah Webster, who decided how words should be spelt in America. He was an American patriot, and he wanted American spelling to be superior to British spelling.
After publishing pamphlets with spelling recommendations for years, Noah Webster finally published "A Compendious Dictionary of the English Dictionary" in 1828. Later editions were renamed the "Merriam-Webster Dictionary". This book has done more to sabotage the English language than any other document in history. It's a work of evil by a twisted old man.
Apologists claim that Webster didn't invent his alternate spellings himself. I disagree with this. It's true that some people wrote "center" and "color" before he wrote his dictionary, but these were mistakes made by people of lesser intellect. Noah Webster stood up and told the under-educated Americans they should continue to spell words the wrong way. His anti-British sentiments led him to do damage from which the English language has never recovered.