The Appeal To Authority,History Of English Language


  • THE FIRST HALF OF 18TH CENTURY KNOWN as an Augustan age. 18th century is commonly designated in histories of literature as the Augustan age.
  • Augustan age was the “age of sensibility” People wanted to get knowledge and got benefits from it .people of that era were become more well-mannered then before.


  • During the half century preceding, the principal characteristics of this period may be seen taking from and in the fifty years following it they are still clearly visible and however mixed with new tendencies foreign to it. The characteristics of this period are given blow.
  • One of these characteristics to be mentioned is a strong sense of order and the value of regulation. Adventurous individualism and the spirit of independence characteristic of the previous era give way to a desire for system and regularity.


  • The spirit of scientific rationalism in philosophy was reflected in many other domains of thought. A great satisfaction was felt in things that could be logically explained justified.


  • In 18TH century efforts to standardize refine and fix the English language. In this period under consideration discussion of a language takes new turn. Previously interest had been shown chiefly in such questions as.
  • Whether English was worthy of being used for writing in which Latin had long been traditional?
  • Whether the large additions being made to the vocabulary were justified?
  • Whether a more accurate system of spelling could be introduced.
  • In this period at first time attention was turned to the grammar. It was discovered that English had no grammar at that time.
  • They finally came to this point that English language needs corrections and refinements.English has been and is being daily corrupted that it needs correction and refinement and that when the necessary reforms have been affected. It should be fixed permanently.
  • In short it was the desire, need and requirement of 18th century to give the English language a polished, rational and permanent form.


  • 18th century’s attempts to rearrange the English language.
  • Arranged and direct its course under 3 main heads.

To reduce it.

  • The language to rule and set up a standard of correct usage

To refine it.

  • To remove supposed defect and introduce certain improvement.

To fix it.

  • It should be permanently fixed in perfect and desired form.

One of the biggest causes of English which people became actually conscious in the latter part of the 17th century was the absence of a standard.
The fact that language had not been reduced to rule so that a man could express himself at least with the assurance that he was doing so correctly.


  • The lack of standard to which all might conform was believed to have resulted in many corruptions which were growing up unchecked.
  • It is the subject of frequent lament that for some time the language had been steadily going down.
  • Such observations are generally accompanied by a regretful backward glance at the good old days. Various periods in the past were supposed to represent the highest perfection of English. For example: Chaucer’s poetry /  words worth’s poetry / Shelly’s and Keats’s poetry.
  • There were chiefly innovations which he says had been growing up in the last 20 years.

One of these was tendency to clip and shorten words which should which should have retained their full polysyllabic dignity. Like: rep for reputation, ult for ultimate, extra for extraordinary.
A second was the tendency to contract verbs. Like: drug’d, disturb’d, rebuk’d and thousand others everywhere to be met with in prose as well as verse where by leaving out a vowel to save a syllable.
A third innovation which aroused Swift’s ire has to do with certain words then enjoying a considerable vogue among wits and people of fashion. They use words like: cutting, shuffling and palming.


  • All of these faults which swift found in the language he attached in a letter to the Tattler in 1710 and he called attention to them again 2 years later in his proposal for correcting, improving and ascertaining the English language.


  • Italy and France were the countries to which the English had long turned for inspiration and example, and in both of these lands the destiny of the language had been confided to an Academy. In Italy the most famous Academy was the “Academia Della crusader” founded as early as 1582. It’s for the purification of the Italian Language.
  • Perhaps an even more effective precedent was furnished by France. In 1635 “ Cardinal Richelieu” offered a royal charter to a small group of men who for several years had been meeting once a week to talk about books and to exchange views on literature. The original group was compose of only 6 or 8 the maximum membership was set at 40.this Society was to be known as the “French Academy”.


An idea to the establishment of an academy in England came from the example of France and Italy.

  • In England in 1570 , when a Society of Antiquaries founded by Archbishop Parker began holding its meeting at the house of Sir Robert Cotton, and he occupied itself with the study of Antiquity and History. It might in time have turned its attention to the improvements of the language.
  • With the Restoration discussion of an English Academy became much more frequent.
  • In the very year that Charles 2 was restored to the throne, a volume was published with the new Atlantis… continued by R.H Esquire 1660 in which as a feature of his ideal commonwealth, the author Pictured Academy. Those attempts were held to make the English Language perfect.
  • A few months later the Royal Society took a step which might have let it to serve the purpose of an Academy. This Society founded in 1662 was mainly scientific in its interest but in December 1664 it adopted a resolutions to the effect that “Their were persons of the society whose genius was very proper and inclined to improve the English language”. Particularly for philosophic purpose. It was voted that there should be a committee for improving the English. The most prominent persons are Dryden, Evelyn, Sprat and Waller.
  • Finally translations might be made of some of the best of Greek and Latin literature and even out of modern language, as models of elegance in style.
  • John Dryden was the most outstanding figure who worked very hard for the improvement of English language. Professor Emerson thought that “The moving spirit in the gesture of the Royal Society was John Dryden”. Though he was certainly not a pioneer in suggesting the creation of an English Academy. He was the most distinguished and consistent advocate of it in public. Later he seems to have joined forces with the earl of Roscommon.


  • Dryden who wished for the establishment of an English language. He should wish earnestly for the establishment
    of an English linguistic academy. He wrote the Dedication to the “Rival Ladies”. In result the Royal Society showed an active interest in language.
  • The committee had established for this purpose. It consisted of 22 persons including these great personalities. John Dryden, John Evelyn, Edmund Waller and Thomas sprat, Bishop of Rochester.
  • Standard English Dictionary which was meant for “Correcting, Improving, and Ascertaining fixing” the English language.
  • Swift gave an idea for improving the language standard but he could not succeed in establishment of an English Academy. A few years later 2 books on English Grammar were brought out by Joseph Priestly and Robert Lowth.


The grammar books by Priestly and Lowth were followed by other, the most important of which was “Lindsey Murray’s English Grammar of 1875”. This was followed by Alexander Brian’s “Higher English Grammar of 1863”.
“A New English Grammar Logical Historical” wrote by Henry Sweet.

  • A part from Sweet’s work no Comprehensive Grammar have been produced in England though excellent works were produced in American by Krapp, Kennedy and Crum.
  • The most elaborate work on English Grammar has been produced by the three Dutchmen H.Poutsman, Etsko Kruisiga, and R.W.Zand.


  • The great Scandinavian Anglicist, Otto Jesperson, who published the 1st part of his book “Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles” in 1909. And died in 1943 while working on the 6th and 7th parts of the work which were later complete by 3 of his brilliant students in the University of Copenhagen.
  • In the 1st part of the book, Jesperson deals with Sounds and Spellings.
  • In the 6th part of his book, He deals with Morphology while the rest of the book is devoted to the study of Syntax.
  • The book is thus primarily a Descriptive Grammar of Current English with a Historical out look.
  • “The Essentials of English Grammar” published in 1933.
  • With meekness and humility this Scandinavian Writer on English Grammar refrained from telling his English. He was content with recording and explaining the actual facts of English usage in various periods.


  • The 7th volume Grammar book of Jesperson bears Comparison with the greatest achievement of English language in one respect.

“The New English Dictionary on Historical Principles” popularly known as “The Oxford English Dictionary” like Jesperson’s Grammar, contains a wealth of perfect quotations. It is the standard Dictionary of  the British Commonwealth and of the United States of America.

  • The Oxford Dictionary is now universally accepted as the highest authority, on all aspects of the language. It has influenced our whole attitude to language and has been helpful in raising the standards of all the smaller Dictionaries for schools and home use.


  • As we know that the Oxford Dictionary has now become the highest authority on all aspects of English usages. Daniel Jones’s “An English Pronouncing Dictionary” containing the pronunciations of all words in International Phonetic Transcription has become accepted as the best authority in matters of Pronunciations.
  • Daniel Jones’s pronouncing Dictionary gives us the records of a form of speech which the greatest number of educated people in the English Speaking world have found both pleasing and intelligible.


  • Philological Society organized in 1842 with an initial membership of about 200 persons has been meeting regularly in London, Oxford, Cambridge and northern Universities.
  • The professed object of their meeting has been investigating of “The Structure Affinities and History of Language”.
  • Very early in its History the society embarked upon 2 very commendable projects.

The collection of good English Dictionary and  the editing of unpublished texts in Old and Middle English.


  • The English Association was established in 1906 as a society of unrestricted membership, which seeks by meant of “Lectures, Discussions, Readings, Conferences and Publications” to write and introduce to one another those who interested in English Language and Literature, whether as Writer, Teachers, Artists, Actors or Administrators.
  • It also encouraged the new young Writers to publish their work.
  • It also professed to uphold the standard of English Writing and Speech.


  • The Society for English which was founded in 1913 by Robert Bridges has exercised its beneficial influence over English usages for about 34 years.
  • During this period it had published several, highly specialized and informative tracts.
  • Robert Bridges has believed that the purity of English could be presented not by any foolish interference with living developments.
  • The original members of the society included such eminent scholars as Sir William Caraige, H.W.Fowler, G.S.Gordon and L.P.Smith. But these Scholars passed away the society died because no more material of the quality imagine by them was forthcoming.


Firstly we have talked about “The temper of the 10th century. As we know that there were not proper forms of English language. Then we came to know the reflection towards the language. We have talked about the problems that accrued when the efforts of establishments started. People wanted to fix and refine the rules of grammars, vocabulary and verbs. That time people took inspiration from Italy and France, because that time they were established and polished languages, they run academies for betterment of their languages. So they thought, and feel need of academy where they work for languages. For this purpose Swift wrote letter to Royal family to seek help but they ignored, in result he failed. After him Dryden succeed for the establishment of academy. Then Johnson gave the outstanding work to arrange the dictionary. Daniel Jones arranged the dictionary for meanings, for transcription of words he worked on sounds and also syntax.
so in the last I would like to say that the Oxford dictionary become the highest authority in the whole world now a days we used it in every offices, schools, colleges, universities and homes as well”.


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