Reading Comprehension 6

1. READ TEXT QUICKLY AND SIGN DIFFICULT WORDS

Few men have influenced the development of American English to the extent that Noah Webster did. Born in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1758, Webster graduated from Yale in 1778. He was admitted to the bar in 1781 and thereafter began to practice law in Harford. Later, when he turned to teaching, he discovered how inadequate the available schoolbooks were for the children of a new and independent nation. In response to the need for truly American textbooks, Webster published A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, a three-volume work that consisted of speller, a grammar, and a reader. The first volume, which was generally known as The American Spelling Book, was so popular that eventually it sold more than 80 million copies and provided him with a considerable income for the rest of life. While teaching, Webster began work on the Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, which was published in 1806, and was also very successful.

In 1807, Noah Webster began his greatest work, An American Dictionary of the English Language.  In preparing the manuscript, he devoted ten years to the study of English and its relationship to other languages, and seven more years to the writing itself. Published in two volumes in 1828, An American Dictionary of the English Language has become the recognized authority for usage in the United States. Webster’s purpose in writing it was to demonstrate that the American language was developing distinct meanings, pronounciation, and spellings from those of British English. He is responsible for advancing simplified spelling forms: develop instead of develope; plow instead of plough jail instead of gaol; theater and center instead of theatre and centre; color and honor instead of colour and honour.

Webster was the first author to gain copyright protection in the United States by being awarded a copyright for his American Speller. He continued, for the next fifty years, to lobby for improvements in the protection of intellectual properties, that is, author‘s rights. In 1840 Webster brought out a second edition of his dictionary, which included 70.000 entries instead of the original 38.000. The name Webster has become synonymous with American dictionaries. This edition served as the basis for the many revisions that have been produced by others, ironically, under the uncopyrighted Webster name.

2. NEW VOCABULARY WITH THEIR MEANING

  • Influenced : the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force onorproduce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc.
  • Extent : the space or degree to which a thing extends; length, area, volume,or scope
  • Graduated : characterized by or arranged in degrees, especially successively,asaccording to height, depth, or difficulty
  • Admitted : to allow to enter; grant or afford entrance to
  • The bar : before all the judges of a court
  • Inadequate : Psychiatry. ineffectual in response to emotional, social, intellectual,andphysical demands in the absence of any obvious mental or physicaldeficiency.
  • Considerable : rather large or great in size, distance, extent, etc.
  • Devoted : to give up or appropriate to or concentrate on a particularpursuit,occupation, purpose, cause, etc.
  • Simplified : to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier
  • Copyright : the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploitaliterary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.
  • Properties : that which a person owns; the possession or possessions of aparticularowner
  • Entries : an act of entering; entrance
  • Revisions : the act or work of revising.
  • Uncopyrighted : the opposite of copyright

3. THE IDEAS OF EACH PARAGRAPH

  • Paragraph one : Noah Webster born in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1758, Webster graduated from Yale in 1778. He was admitted to the bar in 1781 and thereafter began to practice law in Harford. Later, when he turned to teaching, he discovered how inadequate the available schoolbooks were for the children of a new and independent nation. In response to the need for truly American textbooks, Webster published A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, a three-volume work that consisted of speller, a grammar, and a reader.
  • Paragraph two : In 1807, Noah Webster began his greatest work, An American Dictionary of the English Language.  In preparing the manuscript, he devoted ten years to the study of English and its relationship to other languages, and seven more years to the writing itself. Published in two volumes in 1828, An American Dictionary of the English Language has become the recognized authority for usage in the United States.
  • Paragraph three : Webster was the first author to gain copyright protection in the United States by being awarded a copyright for his American Speller. He continued, for the next fifty years, to lobby for improvements in the protection of intellectual properties, that is, author‘s rights.

4. ANSWER FROM THE QUESTIONS GIVEN

1. Which of the following would the best title for the passage?

  • A. Webster’s Work
  • B. Webster’s Dictionary
  • C. Webster’s School
  • D. Webster’s Life

2. The word inadequate in paragraph 1 could best be replaced by ?

  • A. Unavailable
  • B. Expensive
  • C. Difficult
  • D. Unsatisfactory

3. Why did Webster write A Grammatical Institutes of the English Language?

  • A. He wanted to supplement his income.
  • B. There were no books available after the Revolutionary War.
  • C. He felt that British books were not appropriate for American children.
  • D. The children did not know how to spell.

4. From which publication did Webster earn a lifetime income?

  • A. Compendious Dictionary of the English Language
  • B. An American Dictionary of the English Language
  • C. An American Dictionary of the English Language: Second Edition
  • D. The American Spelling Book

5. The word considerable in paragraph 1 most nearly means ?

  • A. Large
  • B. Prestigious
  • C. Steady
  • D. Unexpected

6. When was An American Dictionary of the English Language published ?

  • A. 1817
  • B. 1807
  • C. 1828
  • D. 1824

7. The word it in the paragraph 2 refers to ?

  • A. Language
  • B. Usage
  • C. Authority
  • D. Dictionary

8. The word distinct in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to ?

  • A. New
  • B. Simple
  • C. Different
  • D. Exact

9. According to this passage, which one of the following spellings would Webster have approved in his dictionaries?

  • A. Develope
  • B. Theatre
  • C. Color
  • D. Honour

5. SUMMARY OF THE PASSAGE

Noah Webster born in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1758, Webster graduated from Yale in 1778. He was admitted to the bar in 1781 and thereafter began to practice law in Harford. In response to the need for truly American textbooks, Webster published A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, a three-volume work that consisted of speller, a grammar, and a reader. Webster was the first author to gain copyright protection in the United States by being awarded a copyright for his American Speller. He continued, for the next fifty years, to lobby for improvements in the protection of intellectual properties, that is, author‘s rights.

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