The Story of English - Chapter 4, The Guid Scots Tongue Summary & Analysis

Robert McCrum
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Chapter 4, The Guid Scots Tongue Summary and Analysis

Scots is one of the oldest and most interesting varieties of English dating back to the sixth and seventh centuries. The Scots originated the "Mc" prefix. Their language was most dominant in the North and the South ultimately dominated it. Standard English was the greatest threat and the pressure to standardize English after the scientific revolution was strong. During this period, Samuel Johnson produced an English language dictionary. The language exploded with new terms that had to be tamed. Jonathan Swift came next and was particularly concerned about corruption of the English language. English spelling was too chaotic.

Johnson's dictionary contained over 40,000 definitions, illustrated with 114,000 quotations drawn from English writing. Johnson took on the established dictionaries of European language and decisively exceeded them through nine years of work. The dictionary produced the first...

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This section contains 725 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Story of English Study Guide
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