Yale celebrates Noah Webster's 250th birthday

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The announcement came in 1800 in the back of a Connecticut newspaper just above a farmer's reward for a stray cow. A man named Noah Webster was proposing the first comprehensive "dictionary of the American language."

Webster was mocked and scorned for challenging the King's English. About 60 percent of the country spoke English at the time, while others spoke German, Swedish and Dutch. Even among English speakers, regional dialects were strong.

A teacher after the Revolutionary War, Webster believed that Americans should have their own textbooks rather than rely on English books. He created a speller that taught students to read, spell and pronounce words and traveled around the country to promote the book.

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