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Home » » Write a short note on Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

Dr. Johnson became one of the literary dictators of the 18th century besides Dryden, Addison and Pope. He was different from other , masters of the age. He was individual of all 18th century authors. The Strength of his personality, his pseudo-classical ideas helped the other authors of the age. He even helped the progress of the rising of Romantic movement. The preparation of Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, became the most decisive work of his life. 

The Dictionary in successive enlargement became a standard one. And it gave the definite hardship of English literary life though it took place after his death. It should be added the English language expanded since his time. - Johnson's first edition contained almost 400000 words as recorded in Webster’s edition. With the dictionary is connected one of the best known incidents in English literary history. In his undertaking the task Johnson got financial help of Lord Chesterfield who was a leader of fashion and of fashionable literature. 

The Dictionary marks an epoch in the history of English. It was a kind of challenge to the world. The Dictionary filled the nation with a pride in its language. Foreigners who wished to learn English could now learn it in the method and spirit of a scholar from this Dictionary. 

It is a monument of tabour and scholarship. Johnson frankly recognized that language is a living thing and that life means growth and change. Language is the work of man, of a being from which permanence and stability cannot be derived. In the Dictionary he records the present use and past history of words as accurately as be could find them. He thought it more important to codify the floating and uncertain rules which a student of the language found it different and impossible to reconcile. This is the aim he set before him namely “to presence the purity and ascertain the meaning of our English idiom.” 

Johnson's Dictionary has many faults, especially of etymology, it is not guide ta pronunciation of words; his definitions of words are sometimes incorrect, some prejudiced, some verbose, But they are based on commonsense.


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