Tanggapan esai “Preface to English Dictionary” karya Samuel Johnson

Tulisan saya ini adalah evaluasi tanggapan saya mengenai bagaimana Samuel Johnson mempresentasikan pemahaman beliau mengenai Bahasa Inggris dalam kata pengantarnya.

Kita bisa mulai dengan kutipan dalam kata pengantarnya:

When I am animated by this wish, I look with pleasure on my book, however defective, and deliver it to the world with the spirit of a man that has endeavoured well. That it will immediately become popular I have not promised to myself: a few wild blunders, and risible absurdities, from which no work of such multiplicity was ever free, may for a time furnish folly with laughter, and harden ignorance in contempt; but useful diligence will at last prevail, and there never can be wanting some who distinguish desert; who will consider that no dictionary of a living tongue ever can be perfect, since while it is hastening to publication, some words are budding, and some falling away; that a whole life cannot be spent upon syntax and etymology, and that even a whole life would not be sufficient; that he, whose design includes whatever language can express, must often speak of what he does not understand; that a writer will sometimes be hurried by eagerness to the end, and sometimes faint with weariness under a task, which Scaliger compares to the labours of the anvil and the mine; that what is obvious is not always known, and what is known is not always present; that sudden fits of inadvertency will surprize vigilance, slight avocations will seduce attention, and casual eclipses of the mind will darken learning; and that the writer shall often in vain trace his memory at the moment of need, for that which yesterday he knew with intuitive readiness, and which will come uncalled into his thoughts to-morrow.

Johnson menyelesaikan bukunya, walaupun merasa cacat ia akan mengirimkannya kepada dunia, bahwa ia telah berusaha. Ia berharap bukunya akan populer walau ia memilih pekerjaan yang malang ini sebagai penulis kamus.

“When I am animated by this wish, I look with pleasure on my book, however defective, and deliver it to the world with the spirit of a man that has endeavoured well. That it will immediately become popular..”

Terdapat majas ironi dalam kutipannya “may for a time furnish folly with laughter”. Johnson menertawakan kebodohannya ketika ia memliki kesalahan liar, absurditas yang nyata, dan tidak ada karya multiplisitas. “a few wild blunders, and risible absurdities, from which no work of such multiplicity was ever free” majas ironi ini berkaitan karena bahasa selalu berkembang setiap zaman, sedangkan ia berkata bahwa dalam bukunya tidak ada karya multisiplitas. Sedangkan arti multisiplitas itu sendiri adalah susunan tak tetap, tak pasti dan tak ada untuk selamanya, akan tetapi sebuah proses membentuk diri terus-menerus. Hal ini menjadi rancu, lalu Johnson menghina atas ketidaktahuannya, “harden ignorance in contempt”

“but useful diligence will at last prevail, and there never can be wanting some who distinguish desert” dalam kutipannya Johnson percaya bahwa ia akan menang, lalu frasa selanjutnya memiliki majas simbolik, tidak ada yang menginginkan gurun yang berarti tidak ada yang mau kekeringan dan kehampaan, tanpa adanya ketekunan akan merasa kosong seperti halnya gurun.

“who will consider that no dictionary of a living tongue ever can be perfect, since while it is hastening to publication, some words are budding, and some falling away;” Johnson menulis bahwa tidak ada kamus dengan bahasa yang hidup, frasa selanjutnya memiliki majas alegori, some words are budding, and some falling away menunjukkan bahasa akan berkembang dan punah seiring dengan berjalannya zaman. Dilansir dari website Zenius, bahasa berubah tidak selalu tentang perubahan kata, terdapat juga perubahan bunyi perubahan ejaan dan perubahan makna.

Dengan begitu seluruh kehidupan tidak akan cukup untuk meghabiskan sintaks dan etimologi, Johnson seorang penulis kamus harus sering berbicara apa yang tidak dipahami. Tugas yang dianggap rendahan oleh Johnson ini sangat berat karena bekerja dibawah tekanan, bahwa yang jelas tidak selalu diketahui dan apa yang diketahui tidak selalu ada, seperti dalam kutipannya,

“that a whole life cannot be spent upon syntax and etymology, and that even a whole life would not be sufficient; that he, whose design includes whatever language can express, must often speak of what he does not understand; that a writer will sometimes be hurried by eagerness to the end, and sometimes faint with weariness under a task, which Scaliger compares to the labours of the anvil and the mine; that what is obvious is not always known, and what is known is not always present;“

Reference:

Catatan dosen Pepen Priyawan

http://kumpulanjurnalsastrainggris.blogspot.com/2018/05/normal-0-false-false-false-in-x-none-ar_65.html

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