Dr. Abha Pandey
WHAT IS GRAMMAR
Boring or interesting?
Etymologically “grammar” related to
An interesting, exciting subject of study.
Dictionary defines “ grammar as the rules by
which words change their forms and are
combined in other senses.
English grammar is the body of rules that describe
the structure of expressions in the English
language. This includes the structure
of words, phrases, clauses, and sentences.
Use of word grammar in other senses:
As a subject
A book of grammar
Proficiency/ mastery in the language
Transformational generative grammar
as a linguistic theory
Consciously learned explicit set of
rules for learning a foreign language.
In mother tongue rules are
subconsciously internalised. 3
GRAMMAR IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT
Due to wrong use of plural, article,
preposition, noun etc
One who can make acceptable sentences
but cannot explain why they are
unacceptable has implicit knowledge of
Those who can distinguish between
acceptable and unacceptable and also
explain the rule that have been violated
has explicit knowledge of grammar.
Ability to use the language and produce
acceptable sentences- Grammar A Implicit
or internalized knowledge of rules
Use the metalanguage to explain the rules
and process involved- Grammar B explicit
knowledge of rules formal or technical
talk -Grammar B (native /foreign language
Speech of educated native speakers
Unacceptable or rejected as incorrect
or bad English by some grammars.
Other grammars consider them as
acceptable -found in current usage.
Prescriptive grammar lays down the
rules for use of a language.
States the facts of a language as they
exist and are spoken by a large
number of people.
Contains rules / conventions that
actually underlie the usage of native
Records the violations or deviant
features in an objective way as a part
of changing or current usage.
Distinctions like the natural laws and
the laws of the government.
TYPES OF GRAMMAR
Study language as a system of signs.
Is meant to help the learner to learn
Contains more information than a
learner, higher knowledge.
Occupies a middle ground between
the linguist and the learner.
NEED TO STUDY GRAMMAR
Why should teacher’s/ research scholar’s
There has been a debate
Should formal grammar be taught to the
learner’s (in Indian situation)?
How much of grammar is to be taught?
How is grammar to be taught?
The knowledge of grammar may be useful
in teaching, testing, writing research papers,
locating problem areas in learning designing
a syllabus . 9
Quirk, Randolf. “On Conceptions of Good
Grammar”, in The English Language and
Images of Matter. London: Oxford University
Quirk, Randolf, et al. A Grammar of
Contemporary English. London: Longman.
1972.(Sections 1.8to 1.14)
In Linguistics, conformity to the rules of a
language as formulated by a Grammar
based on a theory of language description.
The concept became prominent with the
rise of Generative Grammar in the 1960s,
whose primary aim has been the
construction of rules that would distinguish
between the grammatical or well-
formed sentences and the
ungrammatical, deviant, or ill-
formed sentences of a language.
GRAMMATICALITY AND ACCEPTABILITY
Grammaticality should not be confused with
notions of correctness or acceptability as
determined by prescriptive grammarians.
Grammaticality has been differentiated
from ACCEPTABILITY, which is based on the
judgements by native speakers as to whether
they would use a sentence or would consider it
Judgements about what is acceptable may
reflect views that a sentence is nonsensical,
implausible, illogical, stylistically inappropriate, or
CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTABILITY
We expect a grammar of a language to
clearly say what is “acceptable” and
“unacceptable” in the language?
“Correct” and “incorrect” suggest
absolute norms, deviations in black
“Acceptable” and “unacceptable”
suggest relative norms, fluid and
variable according to usage, suggests
the possibility of many grey areas.
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF UNACCEPTABILITY.
not well formed, violating some rule or
convention of grammar.
Inappropriate: Linguistic Factors:
Use of non standard English – dialects.
Informal/ inappropriate registeral variations.
Use of derogatory words
Non linguistic Factors: Psychological,
Sociological, Aesthetic- Ambiguous statements.
Semantically odd: not appropriate to the
CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTABILITY
Grammar books generally give us the idea
of “grammaticality” i.e. What constitutes
acceptable sentences on the basis of
grammatical rules and conventions.
For dialect, register features, and
collocations, standard dictionaries generally
give some help for exhaustive knowledge
we have to depend on our familiarity with
Social cultural or aesthetic appropriateness
is a relative and variable criteria. 15
GRAMMAR AND USAGE
Grammar is, or should be, a description of usage.
Grammar and usage are not different.
Traditional prescriptive school grammar presents
rules which militate against actual usage.
Modern descriptive grammar has another handicap-
usage is various and keeps on changing. Difficult to
furnish all the details of usage.
As teachers/ scholars of English we should be
conversant with the facts of English usage.
Hosali, Priya and Ray Tongue. A Dictionary of
Collocations for Indian Users of English.
Leech, Geoffery, et al. English Grammar for
Today. London: Macmillan. 1982. (Part A
Nihalani, P, et al. Indian and British English: A
Handbook of Usage and Pronunciation. New
Delhi: OUP. 1979
Trudgill, Peter and Joan Hannah. International
English: A guide to Varieties of Standard
English. London: Edward Arnold. ( pages
Dr. Abha Pandey
Professor and Head
Department of UG, PG and Research in English
Govt. Mahakoshal Arts and Commerce
Autonomous College , Jabalpur
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