By Ronald A. Wells
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Extra resources for Dictionaries and the Authoritarian Tradition: Study in English Usage and Lexicography
His dictionary is clearly intended as a supplemental authority with regard to pronunciation: With respect to the etymology, explanation of words, and illustrations of idiom and phraseology, the reader will find that I have generally followed the celebrated dictionary of the learned Dr. Johnson. A s the present performance is chiefly calculated to correct and ascertain the orthoepy of our tongue, I thought it might be of some advantage to its readers, to make it at the same time a copious index to a work of very general acceptation, in which the literal authorities, collected f r o m our best writers, may be consulted at large.
Campagnac (Oxford, 1925), 187. 92 George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie (1589), English Reprints, I, ed. Edward Arber (London, 1869), 157. 53 Quoted in Sledd and Kolb, 5. THE AUTHORITARIAN TRADITION IN LANGUAGE: ENGLAND 39 . . We have yet no English prosodia, not so much as a tolerable dictionary, or a grammar; so that our language is in a manner barbarous;... 34 In 1724, the anonymous authors of The Many Advantages of a Good Language, members of a club devoted to the cultivation of English, speak of examining "the present state of the Language, to fix what is right by Grammars and Dictionaries.
123. 125. 125. 126. 127. 42 THE AUTHORITARIAN TRADITION IN LANGUAGE: ENGLAND others, which, he tells us, "were selected by Mr. 51 Regarding his own authority concerning "questions of purity and propriety", Johnson explains: . . I was once in doubt whether I should not attribute to myself too much in attempting to decide them, and whether my province was to extend beyond the proposition of the question, and the display of the suffrages on each side; but I have since been determined by your lordship's [Chesterfield's] opinion, to interpose my own judgment, and shall therefore endeavor to support what appears to be most consonant to grammar and reason....