Grammar the Foundation

4 11 2011

With the start of something new there always is a beginning. I feel like the basic foundation for modern interaction/communication is grammar. Grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules.

Describing grammar as the base for modern interaction means that everything done or said has originated or stemmed off of that central base(grammar). So understanding that all things included in interacting with individuals, such as talking, gesturing, facial expressions, and voice tone/pitch would be nonexistent without the existence of grammar. So I want to go over the term with you and the origin of it. My Analysis comes from a piece of discourse material found on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia breaks down the term “grammar” into different categories. However I am only going to discuss 3 of them:

1. Use of the term: “The term is often used by non-linguists with a very broad meaning indeed.” So many use just to refer to any generic aspect of the English language. However, linguists in a more specific sense.  “Every speaker of a language has, in his or her head, a set of rules for using that language. This is a grammar, and the vast majority of the information in it is acquired not by conscious study or instruction, but by observing other speakers.” As we grow up we pick up language from the ones we are constantly around. Namely our parents and/or older siblings. This is important to review because using the term grammar has become under appreciated. Many may see it as “just another word.” What they do not realize is that it is a word that is of great importance to their language.

2.Development of grammars: “Grammars evolve through usage and also due to separations of the human population. With the advent of written representations, formal rules about language usage tend to appear also. Formal grammars are codifications of usage that are developed by repeated documentation over time. As the rules become established and developed, the prescriptive concept of grammatical correctness can arise. This often creates a discrepancy between contemporary usage and that which has been accepted, over time, as being correct.” I feel this is a big part of the development of language today. I feel that these created discrepancies that have been accepted could be described as slang or modern jargon. Since over time it has been accepted as correct, this creates a new type of language. This quote goes along with this idea as well: “Constructed languages (also called planned languages) are more common in the modern-day. Many have been designed to aid human communication. Each of these languages has its own grammar.” Each of these languages having its own grammar means that each language has a different way of defining certain words/phrases.

3. Education: “Prescriptive grammar is taught in primary school (elementary school). The term “grammar school” historically refers to a school teaching Latin grammar to future Roman citizens, orators, and, later, Catholic priests.” Being taught grammar in school is a way to conform to society. Even though in everyday language most people do not use the grammar that they have been taught in school, going to school and learning these “official” rules still play an essential role in modern interaction. “Recently, efforts have begun to update grammar instruction in primary and secondary education. The primary focus has been to prevent the use of outdated prescriptive rules in favor of more accurate descriptive ones and to change perceptions about relative “correctness” of standard forms in comparison to non standard dialects.” Although they have begun to try to rid the outdated rules in grammar, there has not been much success.  Everyday jargon or lingo proves this to be true.

So Wikipedia describes the word “grammar” very thoroughly. Knowing the real meaning of the word and the facts unknown by many will give you a much more insightful view on modern interaction today…i hope. There is still much more to talk about when it comes to grammar, but for now this is it.

                                                                                 -See ya!

 

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