Media: NYTimes: Dr. Johnson's Revolution
The New York Times Editorials/Op-Ed July 2, 2005
Dr. Johnson's Revolution
By Jack Lynch
...Johnson approached each entry with the same overarching question: What
does a word mean? You can answer this question many ways. You can turn to
Latin roots, consult a committee of authoritative scholars, or follow
logical principles about things like double negatives.
But Johnson's answer was simpler: a word means whatever the best writers
say it means. He was convinced that no one - no emperor, no king and
certainly no dictionary writer - had the authority to rule on meanings. Our
language is the common property of all who have used it, and meanings come
not from fiat but from precedent. ...
|Date Posted:||July 02, 2005|