The English Language

The status of the English Language changed dramatically from Samuel Johnsons Dictionary (1755) to Macaulay’s and Ray’s call for English education in India. The value and English pride did not drastically change though. In Maculays minute he says “All parties seem to be agreed on one point, that the dialects commonly spoken among the natives of this part of India contain neither literary nor scientific information, and are moreover so poor and rude that, until they are enriched from some other quarter, it will not be easy to translate any valuable work into them.  It seems to be admitted on all sides, that the intellectual improvement of those classes of the people who have the means of pursuing higher studies can at present be affected only by means of some language not vernacular amongst them.”, demonstrating that he still prides English as being superior intellectually. In Samuel Johnsons Dictionary though, Johnson does not necessarily pride English in the classical way unlike Macualay. Johnson utilized his book to attempt to reform the English language but instead put his personality onto the pages and realized that the English Language is constantly evolving. As seen in the video, the English language is constantly adapting so there is no way the language several years later would be exactly the same. The pride of the English Language did evolve to an enormity that was felt everywhere someone of the English Language went. In Maculays call for India to be taught in English he clearly is stating how grand the language is but when Johnson wrote the Dictionary, he himself may have even made up some of his own words in the book poking fun at the erratic language. So the respect of the language is what actually changed besides the literal evolution of the language over the years.  The actual style of languge spoken was also dramatically changed as well. In Johnsons preface to his dictionary he uses words that are not common or used in Maculay’s piece such as when Johnson states “I have, notwithstanding the discouragement, attempted a dictionary of the English Language, which, while it was employed in cultivation of every species of Literature, has itself been hitherto neglected…” . The language of Johnson had a feel more of wanting to sound sophisticated and important when it actually was not as well as also being hard to understand due to the chosen spelling of some of the words such as ‘notwithstanding’ .

One thought on “The English Language

  1. The main idea is, “The status of the English Language changed dramatically from Samuel Johnsons Dictionary (1755) to Macaulay’s and Ray’s call for English education in India. ” You only ever mention Roy in the first sentence. Perhaps adding more detail of him can strengthen your claim and avoid confusion.

    Extra Credit 25/25/3


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