Test 01 -Passage 1:Johnson's Dictionary 纠错
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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 words'. 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.

当然,在此之前也有过一些字典。其中最早的是一本约120页的小册子,由一个叫Robert Cawdray的人编辑,于1604年出版,名为《按字母排序的罕见英语词汇表》。正如后来17世纪出版的许多字典一样,Cawdray倾向于着重收录学术词汇。这本字典的功能之一就是使字典的使用者能体现出良好的学术修养。

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 Holborn Bar on 18 June 1764. He was to be paid ~1,575 in instalments, and from this he took money to rent 17 Gough Square, in which he set up his 'dictionary workshop'.

约翰逊是诗人、批评家,他将常识提高到了天赋的高度。对于那些从17世纪晚期到18世纪早期一直困扰着作家的问题,约翰逊的解决方法是非常实用的。在约翰逊之前,如果没有专门的学术机构判别正确与错误的用法,要出版这样一部大型字典几乎是不可能的。约翰逊则认为不需要学术机构来解决语言上的争端.他要自己编一本字典,而且要自己亲手去编。1764年6月18日,约翰逊与书商Robert Dosley在Holbom酒店附近的Golden Anchor旅店吃早餐时,签订了关于这本《字典》的合同。约翰逊因此获得了总价值1575英镑的分期付款,他从这些钱中拿出一些租下了17 Gough广场,在这里建起了自己的“字典作坊”。

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.

James Boswell曾为约翰逊作传,他描述说约翰逊工作的阁楼就像“一个账房”,中间有一张长长的的桌子,负责抄写的工作人员站着工作。约翰逊坐在一把快要散架的椅子上,面前是一张老式的摇摇晃晃的文案桌,周围乱七八糟堆放着一堆借来的书。同时旁边有六个助手帮助,其中两个在《字典》编纂的筹备阶段就去世了。

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'.

约翰逊几乎没有得到学者的帮助或伟人的赞助,也没有退休后的舒适条件,更不是在凉爽的书房中完成工作。他是在种种不便与干扰中、在疾病折磨和忧伤中一直工作了九年。尽管存在瑕疵和怪异之处,他的这部两卷本的著作仍然称得上是一部杰作,一座里程碑。用他自己的话说,这本字典“规范了拼写,进行了词汇比较,规范了结构,明确了英文字词的含义”。这部字典为后来的标准英语奠定了基础,这一成就,用James Boswell的话说,就是“为英语的稳定做出了贡献”。

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.

1 - 3 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.
正确答案: D E G







Johnson's Dictionary