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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Who's Changing the Meaning? by Dana Lynn Pope is a non-fiction book that goes into great detail about American English's written history, its effect on language, and the impact that fluid and variable revisions have had and continue to have on the power and context of words. Pope's book begins with the origins of the American dictionary and the need for a distinct form of English that separated the United States from England. It moves on to the shaping of the Declaration of Independence and some of history's most poignant documents and speeches, religious texts and their interpretations, and how the evolution of words has created a lexicon of shifting and often ambiguous meanings that are frequently used to warp facts.
As I write this, I am acutely aware of the many ways this review might be interpreted...and it's a bit daunting. Who's Changing the Meaning? by Dana Lynn Pope was an eye-opening read into communication and its transformative potential, which balances precariously between good and bad, depending on how a person chooses and uses their words. I am a prolific reader and find myself constantly searching for hidden meaning, symbolism, and word play in whichever story I hold in my hand. Some authors are skilled in the application of words to make this interesting, while others are not. As for Pope and this resource, it's introduced me to a background that I'd never much thought about but of which I am now totally aware. I would absolutely recommend this book to teachers, students, authors, politicians, religious leaders, and pretty much anyone who has ever opened their mouth or picked up a pen to say anything in American English.