For the century before Johnson’s Dictionary was published in 1775, there had been concern about the state of the English language. There was no standard way of speaking or writing and no agreement as to the best way of bringing some order to the chaos of English spelling. Dr Johnson provided the solution.
There had, of course, been dictionaries in the past, the first of these being a little book of some 120 pages, compiled by a certain Robert Cawdray, published in 1604 under the title A Table Alphabeticall ‘of hard usuall English wordes’. Like the various dictionaries that came after it during the seventeenth century, Cawdray’s tended to concentrate on ‘scholarly’ words; one function of the dictionary was to enable its student to convey an impression of fine learning.
Beyond the practical need to make order out of chaos, the rise of dictionaries is associated with the rise of the English middle class, who were anxious to define and circumscribe the various worlds to conquer — lexical as well as social and commercial. it is highly appropriate that Dr Samuel Johnson, the very model of an eighteenth-century literary man, as famous in his own time as in ours, should have published his Dictionary at the very beginning of the heyday of the middle class.
Johnson was a poet and critic who raised common sense to the heights of genius. His approach to the problems that had worried writers throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was intensely practical. Up until his time, the task of producing a dictionary on such a large scale had seemed impossible without the establishment of an academy to make decisions about right and wrong usage. Johnson decided he did not need an academy to settle arguments about language; he would write a dictionary himself and he would do it single-handed. Johnson signed the contract for the Dictionary with the bookseller Robert Dosley at a breakfast held at the Golden Anchor Inn near Holbom Bar on 18 June 1764.He was to be paid ￡1.575 in instalments, and from this he took money to rent Gough Square, in which he set up his ‘dictionary workshop’.
James Boswell, his biographer, described the garret where Johnson worked as ‘fitted up like a counting house’ with a long desk running down the middle at which the copying clerks would work standing up. Johnson himself was stationed on a rickety chair at an ‘old crazy deal table’ surrounded by a chaos of borrowed books. He was also helped by six assistants, two of whom died whilst the Dictionary was still in preparation.
The work was immense; filling about eighty large notebooks (and without a library to hand), Johnson wrote the definitions of over 40,000 words, and illustrated their many meanings with some 114,000 quotations drawn from English writing on every subject, from the Elizabethans to his own time. He did not expect to achieve complete originality. Working to a deadline, he had to draw on the best of all previous dictionaries, and to make his work one of heroic synthesis. In fact, it was very much more. Unlike his predecessors, Johnson treated English very practically, as a living language, with many different shades of meaning. He adopted his definitions on the principle of English common law — according to precedent. After its publication, his Dictionary was not seriously rivalled for over a century.
After many vicissitudes the Dictionary was finally published on 15 April 1775. It was instantly recognised as a landmark throughout Europe. ‘This very noble work,’ wrote the leading Italian lexicographer, ‘will be a perpetual monument of Fame to the Author, an Honour to his own Country in particular, and a general Benefit to the republic of Letters throughout Europe" The fact that Johnson had taken on the Academies of Europe and matched them (everyone knew that forty French academics had taken forty years to produce the first French national dictionary) was cause for much English celebration.
Johnson had worked for nine years, ‘with little assistance of the learned, and without any patronage of the great; not in the soft obscurities of retirement, or under the shelter of academic bowers, but amidst inconvenience and distraction, in sickness and in sorrow’. For all its faults and eccentricities his two-volume work is a masterpiece and a landmark, in his own words, ‘setting the orthography, displaying the analogy, regulating the structures, and ascertaining the significations of English words’. It is the cornerstone of Standard English an achievement which, in James Boswell’s words ‘conferred stability on the language of his country.’
The Dictionary, together with his other writing, made Johnson famous and so well esteemed that his friends were able to prevail upon King George Ⅲ to offer him a pension. From then on, he was to become the Johnson of folklore.
Choose THREE letters A-H.
Write your answers in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.
NB Your answers may be given in any order.
Which THREE of the following statements are true of Johnson’s Dictionary?
A It avoided all scholarly words.
B It was the only English dictionary in general use for 200 years.
C It was famous because of the large number of people involved.
D It focused mainly on language from contemporary texts.
E There was a time limit for its completion.
F It ignored work done by previous dictionary writers.
G It took into account subtleties of meaning.
H Its definitions were famous for their originality.
Complete the summary.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 4-7 on your answer sheet.
In 1764 Dr Johnson accepted the contract to produce a dictionary. Having rented a garret, he took on a number of 4…………, who stood at a long central desk. Johnson did not have a 5………… available to him, but eventually produced definitions of in excess of 40,000 words written down in 80 large notebooks. On publications, the Dictionary was immediately hailed in many European countries as a landmark. According to his biographer, James Boswell, Johnson’s principal achievement was to bring 6……… to the English language. As a reward for his hard work, he was granted a 7………by the king.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
8 The growing importance of the middle classes led to an increased demand for dictionaries.
9 Johnson has become more well known since his death.
10 Johnson had been planning to write a dictionary for several years.
11 Johnson set up an academy to help with the writing of his Dictionary.
12 Johnson only received payment for his Dictionary on its completion.
13 Not all of the assistants survived to see the publication of the Dictionary.
Test 1 Passage1
Question 1-Question 3
答案：D E G
解题思路: A选项的all，B选项的only都太绝对了;C选项对应的原文在第4段第4句“Johnson decided…”原文都说了他不需要那么多人来确认语言问题的讨论结果，和选项意思矛盾;D选项说约翰逊字典主要集中于当代文本中的语言，原文第6段第1句“Johnson wrote…”说的是drawn from the Elizabethans to his own time;意思一致;E选项和文中第6段第3句“Working to a deadline…”意思一致;G选项和第6段第5句意思一致;F选项和H选项的定位句分别在第6段“...he had to draw on the best of all previous dictionaries.”和第6段“He did not expect to achieve complete originality.”都与原文矛盾。
关键词：1764/a number of/who stood at
定位原文: 第5段第1句“…with a long desk running down the middle”
解题思路: a number of要求其后填名词复数形式，而此空后面的非限制性定语从句who又限定要填一个关于人的名词。
关键词：did not have a/40，000
定位原文: 第6段第1句“The work was immense：filling about eighty large…”
定位原文: 第8段最后1句“… in James Boswell’s words...”
解题思路: 原文的conferred on 和 空处的bring to 属于同义表达。
定位原文: 第9段1句“… King George III to offer him a pension”
解题思路: offer him a pension 和题目的 was granted a pension 属于同义表达。
关键词: middle classes
定位原文: 第3段第2句“...as famous in his own time as in ours...”
解题思路: 这句话表明他当时跟现代都享有盛誉，题干与原文矛盾。题干的 well known 为文章里这句话中的famous的同义替换。
答案: NOT GIVEN
解题思路: 按照判断是非题的顺序原则，这题在文章中的定位应该在第9题在文章中所定位的语句后面，同时又应该出现在第11题定位语句的前面，故应该从第3段末开始找一直到第4段中间，我们找不到任何跟题干相关的信息，故此题为not given。
定位原文：第4段第4句“Johnson decided he did not need…”
定位原文: 第4段最后1句“He was to be paid …”
解题思路: He was to be paid……installment对应,明确提到了得到分期付款，跟题干矛盾。
定位原文: 第5段最后1句“He was also helped by six assistants…”
解题思路: 题干中的 not survive 跟文章中这句话的die对应，根据文意，题目表述是正确的。