The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes

The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes
Volume V: Miscellaneous Pieces

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The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes by Samuel Johnson

Published:

1825

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The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes
Volume V: Miscellaneous Pieces

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Book Excerpt

be likewise sometimes proper to trace back the orthography of different ages, and show by what gradations the word departed from its original.

Closely connected with orthography is pronunciation, the stability of which is of great importance to the duration of a language, because the first change will naturally begin by corruptions in the living speech. The want of certain rules for the pronunciation of former ages, has made us wholly ignorant of the metrical art of our ancient poets; and since those who study their sentiments regret the loss of their numbers, it is surely time to provide that the harmony of the moderns may be more permanent.

A new pronunciation will make almost a new speech; and, therefore, since one great end of this undertaking is to fix the English language, care will be taken to determine the accentuation of all polysyllables by proper authorities, as it is one of those capricious phaenomena which cannot be easily reduced to rules. Thus there is no antecedent reason for difference

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