Grammar

Grammar

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In linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrase
Phrase
In everyday speech, a phrase may refer to any group of words. In linguistics, a phrase is a group of words which form a constituent and so function as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. A phrase is lower on the grammatical hierarchy than a clause....

s, and words in any given natural language
Natural language
In the philosophy of language, a natural language is any language which arises in an unpremeditated fashion as the result of the innate facility for language possessed by the human intellect. A natural language is typically used for communication, and may be spoken, signed, or written...

. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

, syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

, and phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

, often complemented by phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

, semantics
Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

, and pragmatics
Pragmatics
Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy, sociology, and linguistics. It studies how the...

. Linguists do not normally use the term to refer to orthographical
Orthography
The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

 rules, although usage
Usage
Usage is the manner in which written and spoken language is used. H. W. Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage "defines usage as 'points of grammar, syntax, style, and the choice of words'". The Oxford Dictionary of English defines usage as "the way in which a word or phrase is normally and...

 books and style guide
Style guide
A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field...

s that call themselves grammars may also refer to spelling and punctuation
Punctuation
Punctuation marks are symbols that indicate the structure and organization of written language, as well as intonation and pauses to be observed when reading aloud.In written English, punctuation is vital to disambiguate the meaning of sentences...

.

Use of the term


The term "grammar" is often used by non-linguists with a very broad meaning indeed; as Jeremy Butterfield puts it: "Grammar is often a generic way of referring to any aspect of English that people object to." However, linguists use it in a much 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—at least in the case of one's native language—the vast majority of the information in it is acquired
Language acquisition
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. This capacity involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an extensive vocabulary. This language might be vocal as with...

 not by conscious study or instruction, but by observing other speakers; much of this work is done during infancy. Language learning later in life, of course, may involve a greater degree of explicit instruction.

The term "grammar" can also be used to describe the rules that govern the linguistic behaviour of a group of speakers. The term "English grammar", therefore, may have several meanings. It may refer to the whole of English grammar—that is, to the grammars of all the speakers of the language—in which case, the term encompasses a great deal of variation. Alternatively, it may refer only to what is common to the grammars of all, or of the vast majority of, English speakers (such as subject–verb–object word order in simple declarative sentences
Simple sentence
A simple sentence is a sentence structure that contains one independent clause and no dependent clauses.-Examples:*The runner jumped....

). Or it may refer to the rules of a particular, relatively well-defined variety of English (such as Standard English
Standard English
Standard English refers to whatever form of the English language is accepted as a national norm in an Anglophone country...

).

"An English grammar" is a specific description, study or analysis of such rules. A reference book describing the grammar of a language is called a "reference grammar" or simply "a grammar." A fully explicit grammar that exhaustively describes the grammatical
Grammaticality
In theoretical linguistics, grammaticality is the quality of a linguistic utterance of being grammatically well-formed. An * before a form is a mark that the cited form is ungrammatical....

 constructions of a language is called a descriptive grammar. Linguistic description contrasts with linguistic prescription
Linguistic prescription
In linguistics, prescription denotes normative practices on such aspects of language use as spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and syntax. It includes judgments on what usages are socially proper and politically correct...

, which tries to enforce rules of how a language is to be used.

Grammatical framework
Grammatical Framework
Grammatical Framework is a programming language for writing grammars of natural languages. GF is capable of parsing and generating texts in several languages simultaneously while working from a language-independent representation of meaning. Grammars written in GF can be compiled into different...

s are approaches to constructing grammars. The most known among the approaches is the traditional grammar
Traditional grammar
In linguistics, a traditional grammar is a framework for the description of the structure of language. Traditional grammars are commonly used in language education.Concepts treated in traditional grammars include:* subject* predicate* object...

 which is traditionally taught in schools.

The standard framework of generative grammar
Generative grammar
In theoretical linguistics, generative grammar refers to a particular approach to the study of syntax. A generative grammar of a language attempts to give a set of rules that will correctly predict which combinations of words will form grammatical sentences...

 is the transformational grammar
Transformational grammar
In linguistics, a transformational grammar or transformational-generative grammar is a generative grammar, especially of a natural language, that has been developed in the Chomskyan tradition of phrase structure grammars...

 model developed in various ways by Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and his associates from the 1950s onwards.

Etymology



The word grammar derives from Greek  (grammatikē technē), which means "art of letters", from (gramma), "letter", itself from (graphein), "to draw, to write".

History



The first systematic grammars originated in Iron Age India
Iron Age India
Iron Age India, the Iron Age in the Indian subcontinent, succeeds the Late Harappan culture, also known as the last phase of the Indus Valley Tradition...

, with Yaska
Yaska
' ) was a Sanskrit grammarian who preceded Pāṇini , assumed to have been active in the 5th or 6th century BC.He is the author of the Nirukta, a technical treatise on etymology, lexical category and the semantics of words...

 (6th c. BC), Pāṇini (4th c. BC) and his commentators Pingala
Pingala
Pingala is the traditional name of the author of the ' , the earliest known Sanskrit treatise on prosody.Nothing is known about Piṅgala himself...

 (ca. 200 BC), Katyayana
Katyayana
Kātyāyana was a Sanskrit grammarian, mathematician and Vedic priest who lived in ancient India.-Works:He is known for two works:...

, and Patanjali
Patañjali
Patañjali is the compiler of the Yoga Sūtras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice. According to tradition, the same Patañjali was also the author of the Mahābhāṣya, a commentary on Kātyāyana's vārttikas on Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī as well as an unspecified work of medicine .In...

 (2nd c. BC). In the West, grammar emerged as a discipline in Hellenism
Hellenism (neoclassicism)
Hellenism, as a neoclassical movement distinct from other Roman or Greco-Roman forms of neoclassicism emerging after the European Renaissance, is most often associated with Germany and England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries...

 from the 3rd c. BC forward with authors like Rhyanus and Aristarchus of Samothrace
Aristarchus of Samothrace
Aristarchus of Samothrace was a grammarian noted as the most influential of all scholars of Homeric poetry. He was the librarian of the library of Alexandria and seems to have succeeded his teacher Aristophanes of Byzantium in that role.He established the most historically important critical...

, the oldest extant work being the Art of Grammar
Art of Grammar
The Art of Grammar is a treatise on Greek grammar attributed to Dionysius Thrax, and written in the 2nd century BC. It is the first work of grammar in Greek, and it sought mainly to help speakers of Koine Greek to be able to understand the language of Homer and other great poets of the past.It...

, attributed to Dionysius Thrax
Dionysius Thrax
Dionysius Thrax was a Hellenistic grammarian and a pupil of Aristarchus of Samothrace. His place of origin was not Thrace as the epithet Thrax denotes, but probably Alexandria...

 (ca. 100 BC). Latin grammar
Latin grammar
The grammar of Latin, like that of other ancient Indo-European languages, is highly inflected; consequently, it allows for a large degree of flexibility in choosing word order...

 developed by following Greek models from the 1st century BC, due to the work of authors such as Orbilius Pupillus
Orbilius Pupillus
Lucius Orbilius Pupillus was a Latin grammarian of the 1st century BC, who taught a school, first at Benevento and then at Rome, where the poet Horace was one of his pupils...

, Remmius Palaemon
Remmius Palaemon
Quintus Remmius Palaemon was a Roman grammarian and a native of Vicentia. He lived during the reigns of Emperors Tiberius and Claudius.From Suetonius we learn that he was originally a slave who obtained his freedom and taught grammar at Rome. Suetonius preserves several anecdotes of his profligate...

, Marcus Valerius Probus
Marcus Valerius Probus
Marcus Valerius Probus, of Berytus, was a Roman grammarian and critic, who flourished during the Flavian dynasty.He was a student rather than a teacher, and devoted himself to the criticism and elucidation of the texts of classical authors by means of marginal notes or by signs, after the manner...

, Verrius Flaccus
Verrius Flaccus
Marcus Verrius Flaccus was a Roman grammarian and teacher who flourished under Augustus and Tiberius.-Life:He was a freedman, and his manumitter has been identified with Verrius Flaccus, an authority on pontifical law; but for chronological reasons the name of Veranius Flaccus, a writer on augury,...

, and Aemilius Asper
Aemilius Asper
Aemilius Asper, Latin grammarian, possibly lived in the 1st century or late 2nd century. He wrote commentaries on Terence, Sallust and Virgil dealing with content and form, and including parallels with other authors. Numerous fragments of the commentary on Virgil show that as both critic and...

.

Tolkāppiyam
Tolkappiyam
The Tolkāppiyam is a work on the grammar of the Tamil language and the earliest extant work of Tamil literature. It is written in the form of noorpaa or short formulaic compositions and comprises three books - the Ezhuttadikaram, the Solladikaram and the Poruladikaram. Each of these books is...

 is the earliest Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 grammar; it has been dated variously between 1st CE and 10th CE
Date of the Tolkappiyam
The dating of the earliest Tamil grammatical treatise Tolkappiyam has been debated much and it is still imprecise and uncertain and has seen wide disagreements amongst scholars in the field...

.

A grammar of Irish originated in the 7th century with the Auraicept na n-Éces
Auraicept na n-Éces
Auraicept na n-Éces is claimed as a 7th century work of Irish grammarians, written by a scholar named Longarad....

.

Arabic grammar
Arabic grammar
Arabic grammar is the grammar of the Arabic language. Arabic is a Semitic language and its grammar has many similarities with the grammar of other Semitic languages....

 emerged from the 8th century with the work of Ibn Abi Ishaq and his students.

The first treatises on Hebrew grammar
Hebrew grammar
-History of studies in Hebrew grammar:The Masoretes in the 7th to 11th centuries laid the foundation for grammatical analysis of Hebrew. As early as the 9th century Judah ibn Kuraish discussed the relationship between Arabic and Hebrew...

 appeared in the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

, in the context of Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 (exegesis of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

). The Karaite tradition originated in Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. The Diqduq (10th century) is one of the earliest grammatical commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. Ibn Barun in the 12th century compares the Hebrew language with Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 in the Islamic grammatical tradition.

Belonging to the trivium of the seven liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

, grammar was taught as a core discipline throughout the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, following the influence of authors from Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

, such as Priscian
Priscian
Priscianus Caesariensis , commonly known as Priscian, was a Latin grammarian. He wrote the Institutiones grammaticae on the subject...

. Treatment of vernaculars began gradually during the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

, with isolated works such as the First Grammatical Treatise
First Grammatical Treatise
The First Grammatical Treatise is a 12th-century work on the phonology of the Old Norse or Old Icelandic language. It was given this name because it is the first of four grammatical works bound in the Icelandic manuscript Codex Wormianus...

, but became influential only in the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 periods. In 1486, Antonio de Nebrija
Antonio de Nebrija
Antonio de Lebrija , also known as Antonio de Nebrija, Elio Antonio de Lebrija, Antonius Nebrissensis, and Antonio of Lebrixa, was a Spanish scholar, known for writing a grammar of the Castilian language, credited as one of the first published grammars of a Romance language...

 published Las introduciones Latinas contrapuesto el romance al Latin, and the first Spanish grammar
Spanish grammar
Spanish grammar is the grammar of the Spanish language , which is a Romance language that originated in north central Spain and is spoken today throughout Spain, some twenty countries in the Americas, and Equatorial Guinea....

, Gramática de la lengua castellana
Gramática de la lengua castellana
Gramática de la lengua castellana is a book written by Antonio de Nebrija and published in 1492...

, in 1492. During the 16th century Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

, the Questione della lingua was the discussion on the status and ideal form of the Italian language
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, initiated by Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

's de vulgari eloquentia
De vulgari eloquentia
De vulgari eloquentia is the title of an essay by Dante Alighieri, written in Latin and initially meant to consist of four books, but abandoned in the middle of the second. It was probably composed shortly after Dante went into exile; internal evidence points to a date between 1302 and 1305...

(Pietro Bembo
Pietro Bembo
Pietro Bembo was an Italian scholar, poet, literary theorist, and cardinal. He was an influential figure in the development of the Italian language, specifically Tuscan, as a literary medium, and his writings assisted in the 16th-century revival of interest in the works of Petrarch...

, Prose della volgar lingua Venice 1525). The first grammar of Slovene language was written in 1584 by Adam Bohorič
Adam Bohoric
Adam Bohorič was a Slovene Protestant preacher, teacher and author of the first grammar of Slovene.Bohorič was born in the market town of Rajhenburg in the Duchy of Styria, on the border between Lower Carniola and Lower Styria...

.

Grammars of non-European languages began to be compiled for the purposes of evangelization
Evangelization
Evangelization is that process in the Christian religion which seeks to spread the Gospel and the knowledge of the Gospel throughout the world. It can be defined as so:-The birth of Christian evangelization:...

 and Bible translation from the 16th century onward, such as Grammatica o Arte de la Lengua General de los Indios de los Reynos del Perú (1560), and a Quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

 grammar by Fray Domingo de Santo Tomás.

In 1643 there appeared Ivan Uzhevych
Ivan Uzhevych
Ivan Petrovych Uzhevych was a Ruthenian grammarian.Very little is known about his biography: From 1637 he studied at Cracow University, then in 1643 he was a student of theology at the Sorbonne, Paris. He wrote a Polish ode on the occasion of the marriage of a certain Aleksander Przyłęcki with Ewa...

's Grammatica sclavonica and, in 1762, the Short Introduction to English Grammar of Robert Lowth
Robert Lowth
Robert Lowth FRS was a Bishop of the Church of England, Oxford Professor of Poetry and the author of one of the most influential textbooks of English grammar.-Life:...

 was also published. The Grammatisch-Kritisches Wörterbuch der hochdeutschen Mundart, a High German grammar in five volumes by Johann Christoph Adelung
Johann Christoph Adelung
Johann Christoph Adelung was a German grammarian and philologist.He was born at Spantekow, in Western Pomerania, and educated at schools in Anklam and Berge Monastery, Magdeburg, and the University of Halle...

, appeared as early as 1774.

From the latter part of the 18th century, grammar came to be understood as a subfield of the emerging discipline of modern linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

. The Serbian grammar by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
Vuk Stefanovic Karadžic
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić was a Serbian philolog and linguist, the major reformer of the Serbian language, and deserves, perhaps, for his collections of songs, fairy tales, and riddles to be called the father of the study of Serbian folklore. He was the author of the first Serbian dictionary...

 arrived in 1814, while the Deutsche Grammatik of the Brothers Grimm
Brothers Grimm
The Brothers Grimm , Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm , were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected folklore and published several collections of it as Grimm's Fairy Tales, which became very popular...

 was first published in 1818. The Comparative Grammar of Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp was a German linguist known for extensive comparative work on Indo-European languages.-Biography:...

, the starting point of modern comparative linguistics
Comparative linguistics
Comparative linguistics is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish their historical relatedness....

, came out in 1833.

Development of grammars


Grammars evolve through usage and also due to separations of the human population. With the advent of written representation
Knowledge representation
Knowledge representation is an area of artificial intelligence research aimed at representing knowledge in symbols to facilitate inferencing from those knowledge elements, creating new elements of knowledge...

s, formal rules about language usage tend to appear also. Formal grammars are codifications
Codification (linguistics)
In linguistics, codification is the process of standardizing and developing a norm for a language.Codifying a language can vary from case to case and depends on the stage of standardization that already exists...

 of usage that are developed by repeated documentation over time, and by observation
Observation
Observation is either an activity of a living being, such as a human, consisting of receiving knowledge of the outside world through the senses, or the recording of data using scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during this activity...

 as well. 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. Linguists tend to view prescriptive grammars as having little justification beyond their authors' aesthetic tastes, although style guides may give useful advice about Standard English based on descriptions of usage in contemporary writing. Linguistic prescriptions also form part of the explanation for variation in speech, particularly variation in the speech of an individual speaker (an explanation, for example, for why some people say, "I didn't do nothing"; some say, "I didn't do anything"; and some say one or the other depending on social context).

The formal study of grammar is an important part of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 for children from a young age through advanced learning
Learning
Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves.Human learning...

, though the rules taught in schools are not a "grammar" in the sense most linguists
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 use the term, particularly as they are often prescriptive rather than descriptive.

Constructed language
Constructed language
A planned or constructed language—known colloquially as a conlang—is a language whose phonology, grammar, and/or vocabulary has been consciously devised by an individual or group, instead of having evolved naturally...

s (also called planned languages or conlangs) are more common in the modern day. Many have been designed to aid human communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

 (for example, naturalistic Interlingua
Interlingua
Interlingua is an international auxiliary language , developed between 1937 and 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association...

, schematic Esperanto
Esperanto
is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto , the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887...

, and the highly logic-compatible artificial language Lojban
Lojban
See also discussed by Arthur Protin, Bob LeChevalier, Carl Burke, Doug Landauer, Guy Steele, Jack Waugh, Jeff Prothero, Jim Carter, and Robert Chassell, as well as , the concepts which "average English speakers won't recognize" because most of them "have no exact English counterpart".Like most...

). Each of these languages has its own grammar.

Syntax refers to linguistic structure above the word level (e.g. how sentences are formed)—though without taking into account intonation
Intonation
Intonation may refer to:*Intonation , the variation of tone used when speaking*Intonation , a musician's realization of pitch accuracy, or the pitch accuracy of a musical instrument*Intonation Music Festival, held in Chicago...

, which is the domain of phonology. Morphology, by contrast, refers to structure at and below the word level (e.g. how compound words are formed), but above the level of individual sounds, which, like intonation, are in the domain of phonology. No clear line can be drawn, however, between syntax and morphology. Analytic languages use syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

 to convey information that is encoded via inflection
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

 in synthetic language
Synthetic language
In linguistic typology, a synthetic language is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio, as opposed to a low morpheme-per-word ratio in what is described as an isolating language...

s. In other words, word order is not significant and morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 is highly significant in a purely synthetic language, whereas morphology is not significant and syntax is highly significant in an analytic language. Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 and Afrikaans, for example, are highly analytic, and meaning is therefore very context-dependent. (Both do have some inflections, and have had more in the past; thus, they are becoming even less synthetic and more "purely" analytic over time.) Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, which is highly synthetic
Synthetic language
In linguistic typology, a synthetic language is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio, as opposed to a low morpheme-per-word ratio in what is described as an isolating language...

, uses affix
Affix
An affix is a morpheme that is attached to a word stem to form a new word. Affixes may be derivational, like English -ness and pre-, or inflectional, like English plural -s and past tense -ed. They are bound morphemes by definition; prefixes and suffixes may be separable affixes...

es and inflection
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

s to convey the same information that Chinese does with syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

. Because Latin words are quite (though not completely) self-contained, an intelligible Latin sentence
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

 can be made from elements that are placed in a largely arbitrary order. Latin has a complex affixation and simple syntax, while Chinese has the opposite.

Grammar frameworks



Various "grammar frameworks" have been developed in theoretical linguistics
Theoretical linguistics
Theoretical linguistics is the branch of linguistics that is most concerned with developing models of linguistic knowledge. The fields that are generally considered the core of theoretical linguistics are syntax, phonology, morphology, and semantics...

 since the mid 20th century, in particular under the influence of the idea of a "universal grammar
Universal grammar
Universal grammar is a theory in linguistics that suggests that there are properties that all possible natural human languages have.Usually credited to Noam Chomsky, the theory suggests that some rules of grammar are hard-wired into the brain, and manifest themselves without being taught...

" in the United States. Of these, the main divisions are:
  • Transformational grammar
    Transformational grammar
    In linguistics, a transformational grammar or transformational-generative grammar is a generative grammar, especially of a natural language, that has been developed in the Chomskyan tradition of phrase structure grammars...

     (TG)
  • Systemic functional grammar
    Systemic functional grammar
    Systemic functional grammar , a component of systemic functional linguistics , is a form of grammatical description originally developed by Michael Halliday in a career spanning more than 50 years. It is part of a social semiotic approach to language called systemic-functional linguistics...

     (SFG)
  • Principles and Parameters Theory
    Principles and parameters
    Principles and parameters is a framework within generative linguistics in which the syntax of a natural language is described in accordance with general principles and specific parameters that for particular languages are either turned on or off...

     (P&P)
  • Lexical-functional Grammar
    Lexical functional grammar
    Lexical functional grammar is a grammar framework in theoretical linguistics, a variety of generative grammar. It is a type of phrase structure grammar, as opposed to a dependency grammar. The development of the theory was initiated by Joan Bresnan and Ronald Kaplan in the 1970s, in reaction to...

     (LFG)
  • Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar
    Generalised phrase structure grammar
    Generalised phrase structure grammar is a framework for describing the syntax and semantics of natural languages. It is a type of phrase structure grammar, as opposed to a dependency grammar. GPSG was initially developed in the late 1970s by Gerald Gazdar. Other contributors include Ewan Klein,...

     (GPSG)
  • Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar
    Head-driven phrase structure grammar
    Head-driven phrase structure grammar is a highly lexicalized, non-derivational generative grammar theory developed by Carl Pollard and Ivan Sag. It is the immediate successor to generalized phrase structure grammar. HPSG draws from other fields such as computer science and uses Ferdinand de...

     (HPSG)
  • Dependency grammar
    Dependency grammar
    Dependency grammar is a class of modern syntactic theories that are all based on the dependency relation and that can be traced back primarily to the work of Lucien Tesnière. Dependency grammars are distinct from phrase structure grammars , since they lack phrasal nodes. Structure is determined by...

    s (DG)
  • Role and reference grammar
    Role and reference grammar
    Role and Reference Grammar is a model of grammar developed by William Foley and Robert Van Valin, Jr. in the 1980s, which incorporates many of the points of view of current functional grammar theories....

     (RRG)

Education



Prescriptive grammar is taught in primary school (elementary school
Elementary school
An elementary school or primary school is an institution where children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as elementary or primary education. Elementary school is the preferred term in some countries, particularly those in North America, where the terms grade school and grammar...

). The term "grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

" historically refers to a school teaching Latin grammar
Latin grammar
The grammar of Latin, like that of other ancient Indo-European languages, is highly inflected; consequently, it allows for a large degree of flexibility in choosing word order...

 to future Roman citizens, orators, and, later, Catholic priests. In its earliest form, "grammar school" referred to a school that taught students to read, scan, interpret, and declaim Greek and Latin poets (including Homer, Virgil, Euripides, Ennius, and others). These should not be confused with the related, albeit distinct, modern British grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

s.

A standard language
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

 is a particular dialect of a language that is promoted above other dialects in writing, education, and broadly speaking in the public sphere; it contrasts with vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 dialects, which may be the objects of study in descriptive grammar but which are rarely taught prescriptively. The standardized "first language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

" taught in primary education may be subject to political
Language politics
Language politics is a term used to describe political consequences of linguistic differences between people, or on occasion the political consequences of the way a language is spoken and what words are used. It means language can express some authority. Examples include:*Recognition of a...

 controversy, since it establishes a standard defining nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

 or ethnicity.

Recently, efforts have begun to update grammar instruction
Linguistics in Education
Linguistics in Education refers to a small but growing field of Linguistics which advocates a greater use of linguistic theory and linguistic curriculum in Primary and Secondary Education.-Background:...

 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.

The pre-eminence of Parisian French has reigned largely unchallenged throughout the history of modern French literature. Standard Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 is not based on the speech of the capital, Rome, but on the speech of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 because of the influence Florentines had on early Italian literature
Italian literature
Italian literature is literature written in the Italian language, particularly within Italy. It may also refer to literature written by Italians or in Italy in other languages spoken in Italy, often languages that are closely related to modern Italian....

. Similarly, standard Spanish is not based on the speech of Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, but on the one of educated speakers from more northerly areas like Castile and León
Castile and León
Castile and León is an autonomous community in north-western Spain. It was so constituted in 1983 and it comprises the historical regions of León and Old Castile...

. In Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 and Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 the Spanish standard is based on the local dialects of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 and Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 (Rioplatense Spanish
Rioplatense Spanish
Rioplatense Spanish or River Plate Spanish is a dialectal variant of the Spanish language spoken mainly in the areas in and around the Río de la Plata basin of Argentina and Uruguay, and also in Rio Grande do Sul, although features of the dialect are shared with the varieties of Spanish spoken...

). Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 has for now two official written standards, respectively Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese is a group of Portuguese dialects written and spoken by most of the 190 million inhabitants of Brazil and by a few million Brazilian emigrants, mainly in the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, Japan and Paraguay....

 and European Portuguese
European Portuguese
European Portuguese refers to the variety of Portuguese spoken in continental Portugal, as well as the Azores and Madeira islands...

, but in a short term it will have a unified orthography.

The Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 language is divided in a similar way; Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and the Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska is one of two main political entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina...

 use their own separate standards. The existence of a third standard is a matter of controversy, some consider Montenegrin
Montenegrin language
Montenegrin is a name used for the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins; it also refers to an incipient standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian used as the official language of Montenegro...

 as a separate language, and some think it's merely another variety of Serbian.

Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 has two standards, Bokmål
Bokmål
Bokmål is one of two official Norwegian written standard languages, the other being Nynorsk. Bokmål is used by 85–90% of the population in Norway, and is the standard most commonly taught to foreign students of the Norwegian language....

and Nynorsk
Nynorsk
Nynorsk or New Norwegian is one of two official written standards for the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. The standard language was created by Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian alternative to the Danish language which was commonly written in Norway at the...

, the choice between which is subject to controversy
Norwegian language struggle
The Norwegian language struggle is an ongoing controversy within Norwegian culture and politics related to spoken and written Norwegian. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Danish was the standard written language of Norway due to Danish rule...

: Each Norwegian municipality can declare one of the two its official language, or it can remain "language neutral". Nynorsk is endorsed by a minority of 27 percent of the municipalities. The main language used in primary schools normally follows the official language of its municipality, and is decided by referendum within the local school district. Standard German
Standard German
Standard German is the standard variety of the German language used as a written language, in formal contexts, and for communication between different dialect areas...

 emerged out of the standardized chancellery use of High German in the 16th and 17th centuries. Until about 1800, it was almost entirely a written language, but now it is so widely spoken that most of the former German dialects are nearly extinct.

Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese, or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....

 has official status as the standard spoken form of the Chinese language
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 in the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC), the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (ROC) and the Republic of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. Pronunciation of Standard Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect
Beijing dialect
Beijing dialect, or Pekingese , is the dialect of Mandarin spoken in the urban area of Beijing, China. It is the phonological basis of Standard Chinese, which is used by the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China , and Singapore....

 of Mandarin Chinese, while grammar and syntax are based on modern vernacular written Chinese.
Modern Standard Arabic
Literary Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic , Standard Arabic, or Literary Arabic is the standard and literary variety of Arabic used in writing and in most formal speech....

 is directly based on Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

, the language of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. The Hindustani language
Hindustani language
Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language and the lingua franca of North India and Pakistan. It is also known as Hindustani , and historically, as Hindavi or Rekhta...

 has two standards, Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 and Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

.

In the United States, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar designated March 4 as National Grammar Day
National Grammar Day
National Grammar Day is celebrated in the US on March 4. Designated in 2008, the National Grammar Day was established by Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.-Criticism:...

 in 2008.

See also



:Category:Grammars of specific languages
  • Ambiguous grammar
    Ambiguous grammar
    In computer science, a context-free grammar is said to be an ambiguous grammar if there exists a string that can be generated by the grammar in more than one way...

  • Government and binding
  • Harmonic Grammar
    Harmonic Grammar
    Harmonic Grammar is a linguistic model proposed by Geraldine Legendre, Yoshiro Miyata, and Paul Smolensky in 1990. It is a connectionist approach to modeling linguistic well-formedness.-Bibliography:...

  • Higher order grammar
  • Grammeme
    Grammeme
    A grammeme in linguistics is a unit of grammar, just as a lexeme is a lexical unit and a morpheme is a morphological unit.More specifically, a grammeme is a value of a grammar category. For example, singular and plural are grammemes of the category Grammatical number, noun and verb are grammemes of...

  • Linguistic typology
    Linguistic typology
    Linguistic typology is a subfield of linguistics that studies and classifies languages according to their structural features. Its aim is to describe and explain the common properties and the structural diversity of the world's languages...

  • List of linguists
  • Syntax
    Syntax
    In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

  • Universal grammar
    Universal grammar
    Universal grammar is a theory in linguistics that suggests that there are properties that all possible natural human languages have.Usually credited to Noam Chomsky, the theory suggests that some rules of grammar are hard-wired into the brain, and manifest themselves without being taught...

  • Usage
    Usage
    Usage is the manner in which written and spoken language is used. H. W. Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage "defines usage as 'points of grammar, syntax, style, and the choice of words'". The Oxford Dictionary of English defines usage as "the way in which a word or phrase is normally and...



External links