Early Modern English Period

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In order to provide a sufficient response to this intriguing inquiry, one should acknowledge the influential milestones of the Early Modern English period (c.1400 - c.1800) that laid the groundwork for the emergence of Samuel Johnson’s invaluable dictionary. On the top of that list is the revival of the English Renaissance which is often referred to as the “Elizabethan Era” or the “Age of Shakespeare” after the most significant monarch and the most notable dramatist of this memorable era. Another remarkable occurrence is the British exploration, colonization, and overseas trade which hastened the English language’s acquisition of loanwords. Furthermore, it is worth noting that at that time the glorious union of England and Scotland took place…show more content…
However, the only downside of this period which is worth mentioning in this paper is that Latin and French were the dominant languages of government and school curriculums. Therefore, English was faced with derogatory attitudes from the nation and was regarded as the vernacular of the age until the end of the 16th century. During that era, the tables were turned whilst the role of the dominant languages declined and English became the universally authorized language of the regime and the preeminent disciplines of knowledge. During that time, the most impactful occurrence happened in the middle of the 18th century which was the publication of the first major lexicographical work known as the Dictionary of the English language by Samuel Johnson. Indeed, it eventually became the ideal model for all future lexicographers (a term that is used to refer to dictionary writers who occupy themselves with tracing the origin and detailing the signification of…show more content…
Samuel Johnson’s “Dictionary of the English Language” is an impressive academic achievement in its own right since it remained the preeminent English dictionary until the much more comprehensive “Oxford English Dictionary” was published 150 years later. In fact, it was the dictionary that set the lexicon’s standards in both England and America. Moreover, it marked the significant shift of authority from grammarians to lexicographers. In the seventeenth century grammarians still possessed the same authority to make language decisions they had held since antiquity and lexicographers had not yet emerged as a distinct group. Grammarians were primarily responsible for decisions about the English language through consulting Latin grammars. In the eighteenth century decisions about language increasingly fell under the purview of lexicographers. While grammars continued to focus on grammar-related material, lexicographers developed more comprehensive dictionaries. His ability to use the most successful techniques of grammarians such as incorporating usage notes, illustrating meaning through quotations, and making decisions on correctness helped the shift. During this phase, grammarians tried to retain their authority but they could not and the decline of their role became more evident. He was anxious that the
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