Samuel Johnson Dictionary Analysis

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Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary 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 notable dramatist of that memorable era. Another unique occurrence is the British exploration, colonization, and overseas trade which hastened the English language’s acquisition of loanwords. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the glorious union of England and Scotland took…show more content…
On the other hand, it was the first reliable dictionary of its contemporaries. As a matter of fact, it remained preeminent until Oxford English Dictionary overshadowed its popularity when it was published one hundred and fifteen years later. Therefore, it is an impressive academic achievement in its own right. Additionally, it not only established the lexicon’s standards in both England and America but it also marked the momentous shift of authority between grammarians and lexicographers. Linda C. Mitchell claims that while grammarians were the guardians of the English language in the seventeenth century, lexicographers assumed that role in the eighteenth century. Her claim, in fact, is quite legitimate and accurate seeing that grammarians did hold this prestigious authority since antiquity until the end of the seventeenth century. Actually, they possessed this influence because lexicographers had not yet arranged themselves in a distinct group. While grammars continued to focus on grammar-related material, lexicographers developed more comprehensive dictionaries thus in the eighteenth century they slowly but surely usurped their privileges. Samuel Johnson’s ability to use the most successful grammarian’s techniques such as incorporating usage notes, illustrating meaning through quotations, and making decisions on correctness immensely contributed…show more content…
Their only critical disadvantage was the language in which they were composed. They were written in Latin thus they were neither a reliable linguistic reference nor a practical material for non-native speakers of the language. Dictionaries hardly existed back then and those that did consisted of a crude list of synonyms which served only those who spoke English as their first language. In addition to that, they completely focused on complicated English concepts and specialized in them. Also one should bear in mind that their entries were absolutely unreliable. Consequently, grammarians were demanding for a dictionary that could fulfill their lexicographical needs halfway through the seventeen-century and they did not need to be stressed or burdened for long. Lexicographers began to document inventoried lists with an increasing degree of accuracy and efficiency which means that they eventually provided them with an adequate dictionary. In the eighteenth century, grammar was admitted into the dictionaries while grammar books in the meantime became utterly irrelevant. One of the deficiencies of Grammar books was their space. It was limited since they were completely concerned with explaining Latin grammar
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