In Retrospect

In Retrospect

Benjamin Martin (1704-1782) was a lexicographer who compiled one of the early English dictionaries, the Lingua Britannica Reformata (1749).
In compiling his 24,500- word dictionary, he gave up on trying to “fix” the language: He wrote: “The pretence of fixing a standard to the purity and perfection of any language is utterly vain and impertinent, because no language as depending on arbitrary use and custom, can ever be permanently the same, but will always be in a mutable and fluctuating state; and what is deem’d polite and elegant in one age, may be counted uncouth and barbarous in another.”

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