NEW DELHI: 16th of October is annually observed as Dictionary Day in the annals of cyclic and celebratory days of a year to understand and appreciate the import of a dictionary in our life.
Noticeably, it is our speech that makes us distinct with instinct from animals. Therefore, selection of words as well as understanding of their usage plays a vital role in our verbal communications whatsoever, wheresoever and whensoever.
Hence, marking the date as an occasion of Dictionary Day is of course inculcating a sense of positive reception of adding values to our communication skills that make us stand out from the crowd. So, there is no denying that celebrating the day is purely imbibing the spirit of literary value addition to ourselves.
Though a dictionary is supposed to be a mere reference book, not a reading one, yet it is more advisable for one and all to play with it for a larger grasp and cause. In this direction, making a habit of looking up a dictionary must be fostered and encouraged.
Historically, Dictionary Day began in honour of Noah Webster’s birthday as Teachers’ day in India began in commemorating the first Vice President of the country Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday.
Legendary Webster, considered as the Father of the American Dictionary was born on October 16, 1758 there. The observance of the day lays emphasis on the very import of learning while using dictionary skills and increasing our word power.
Mark it; it was 1806 when Noah Webster published his first dictionary. It was namely ‘Compendious Dictionary of the English Language’. Soon after that, he began compiling an expanded and fully comprehensive dictionary which resulted in the American Dictionary of the English Language in 1807. It took him twenty-seven years to complete the project of compiling the dictionary.
Webster had the phonetic approach to the development of his dictionary. Interestingly, the word didn’t appear when Webster published his dictionary in 1828 at the age of seventy. The dictionary with 70,000 entries sold 2500 copies. In 1840, the second edition was published in two volumes. To cheer up, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is available online for free.
Dr Birbal Jha is a noted author and the Managing Director of Lingua Multiservices Pvt Ltd having a popular trademark brand ‘British Lingua’. He is credited with having created a revolution in English training with the slogan ‘English for all’ in India. His contributions of words like ‘Paag’ to English dictionaries are fully appreciated.