Inspired by Thomas Bonfiglio's Race and the Rise of American Standard (2002), we apply the ethnography of speaking to 19th and early 20th century language and elocution textbooks in the northeast, as well as ephemera from the period. Treating these as communicative events, we read each to discover the work of national formation that it performs.
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In The Prompter; or Common Sayings, and Subjects, Which are Full of Common Sense, the Best Sense in the World, Noah Webster...
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The American Spelling Book Containing the Rudiments of the English Language
Webster directly engages with the audience to position them within bounded social identities deemed "natural"
A collection of songs and stories in Pidgin-English
The Elementary Spelling Book; Being an Improvement on the American Spelling Book
A guide for American English spelling and pronunciation