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Time Capsule: 1755

Snapshots of the world from one year in the past

LINGUISTIC PEDANTRY IS BORN

Where would we be without words? Until the mid-18th century English spelling wasn’t uniform: words were regularly spelt in any number of ways with few rules. Tat was until writer Dr Samuel Johnson published his first dictionary in an attempt to curb the unruly language – he later realised this was a mammoth task as languages constantly evolve. Although there had been earlier dictionaries, Johnson’s was the most comprehensive list of English words and their meanings. Unlike others, he also included quotations to demonstrate how words should be used, including excerpts from Shakespeare and Milton as well as his own definitions. It took him eight years to compile, but the dictionary made him one of the most quoted men in English literature.

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About BBC History Revealed

Egyptologist Chris Naunton takes us on a tour of the greatest discoveries found in Egypt down the centuries. Plus: We look at the German resistance movements that stood up to Hitler, the tragic tale of the nine-day queen – Lady Jane Grey and the fall from grace of one of America’s once most-beloved politicians, Richard Nixon.