Other related topics at:
Boswell: "It may be of use, Sir, to have a Dictionary to
ascertain the pronunciation." Johnson: "Why, Sir, my
Dictionary shows you the accent of words, if you can but remember
them." Boswell: "But, Sir, we want marks to ascertain
the pronunciation of the vowels. Sheridan, I believe, has
finished such a work." Johnson: "Why, Sir, consider how
much easier it is to learn a language by the ear, than by any
marks. Sheridan's Dictionary may do very well; but you cannot
always carry it with you: and, when you want the word, you have
not the Dictionary. It is like a man who has a sword that will
not draw. It is an admirable sword, to be sure: but while your
enemy is cutting your throat, you are unable to use it."
"Dictionaries are like watches: the worst is better than none,
and the best cannot be expected to go quite true."
Johnson: Letter to Fransesco Sastres (August 21, 1784)