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Unit 2 Nine Years For A and B

'Unit 2 Nine Years For A and B'
Nine Years for A and B - Christopher Ricks 17Unit Two Nine Years For A and BChristopher is a British critic. The present text is his review of Caught in the Web of Words, a biography of James A. H. Murry by his granddaughter K. M.Elizabeth Murray.————————————About the textDr. Johnson was the greatest man who made a dictionary. ----Samuel Johnson (1709—84) was one of the most important 18th century English writers. His Dictionary Appeared in 1755. It was the most famous English dictionary before Webster, and perhaps the best before the Oxford English Dictionary.Before Johnson no standard dictionary of the English existed. The want had troubled speakers of English for some time, both because Italian and French academies had produced major dictionaries of their own tongues, and because in the absence of any authority, English seemed to change utterly from one generation to another…A dictionary could help retard such change. In 1764 a group of London publishers commissioned Johnson, still an unknown author, to undertake the project. He hoped to finish in three years; it took him nine. But the quantity and quality of the work he accomplished, aided only by 6 part-time assistants, made him famous as ‘ Dictionary Johnson’. The dictionary remained a standard reference book for 100 years.His achievement is notable in 3 respects:1. its size(40,000 words)2. the wealth of illustrative quotations(about 114,000 quotations gathered from the best English writers)3. the excellence of its definitions ( Though a small selection concentrates on a few amusing or notorious definitions, the great majority are full, clear and totally free from eccentricity. Indeed, many of them are still repeated in modern dictionaries.)James A. H. Murray was the man who made the greatest dictionary. --- Murray, Sir James Augustus Henry, 1837—1915, English lexicographer. From 1879 he was editor of the New English Dictionary ( the Oxford English Dictionary), the major work of his career; it was published in 1928.The Oxford English Dictionary is the largest dictionary of the English language that has ever been published. The O. E. D. Consists of 12 volumes and contains over 400,000 words. Its essential feature is what we often refer to as the historical method. The meaning and form of each word in the Dictionary are traced from their earliest appearance on the basis of an immense number of quotations collected by more than 800 volunteer readers. James Murray edited nearly half of the Dictionary, the other scholars responsible for the rest of the work being Henry Bradley, Sir William Craigie and Dr. C. T. Onions. “ a harmless drudge ” ---- In Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary the word lexicographer is defined as “a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge ” . (18 世纪英国文豪 Samuel Johnson 称字典编撰为success without applause, diligence without reward<无偿劳作, 虽成无荣>, 又称编字典的人为 unhappy mortals [
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