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Which would you say is true from the part in blue?

"What status does the traditional notion of SVO clause structure for a language like English have in conversational data? Are the "ellipted" utterances of conversation really just a reduced and partial form of the "real" grammar? Or are the well-formed texts of written texts elaborated versions of the sparse and economical basic spoken structures elaborated because they have less contextual support in writing and must therefore increase the amount of redundancy?"

New Perspectives on Grammar Teaching in Second Language Classrooms. By Eli Hinkel, Sandra Fotos
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Comments  
1. Spoken text: "Do you want me to – ?" Reply: "Yes, please."

2. Written text: "Do you want me to do X?" Reply: "Yes, please."

In #1, context provides the missing information. In #2, all the information is expressed by the written text.

That doesn't mean that #2 contains redundancy: there is no increase in information in #2.

MrP
When people first started to study grammar they looked at written texts. This was almost inevitable as those who studied grammar were literate. They looked at the texts of the "masters" and formulated rules accordingly. Any deviations from the rules, and especially those found in speech, were felt to be corrupt in some way.

Then linguists started to study unwritten languages. They soon realised that there were more unwritten languages than written ones and they remembered that writing had only been around for some five thousand years, which is a short time in the history of language. This lead them to study speech to the exclusion of writing. Then came the insistence that the only "real" language was speech, even to the view that writing was not language at all.

A sensible view has to be that speech and writing are two different aspects of the same phenomenon and that each have their own rules.
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<When people first started to study grammar they looked at written texts. This was almost inevitable as those who studied grammar were literate. They looked at the texts of the "masters" and formulated rules accordingly. Any deviations from the rules, and especially those found in speech, were felt to be corrupt in some way.>

And they used Latin as a model, right?

<A sensible view has to be that speech and writing are two different aspects of the same phenomenon and that each have their own rules.>

I believe they are not so different in their rules, but, yes, they often do need explaining in different ways, with different terminilogy and, more important, different expectations.
It seems to me that classical and scholastic grammarians studied Grammar in relation to the study of Rhetoric; and the study of Rhetoric related to effective public speaking.

I would be interested to see quotations from the early English grammarians that presented spoken English as somehow inferior, or that demonstrated an imposition of inappropriate rules from Latin.

MrP
<I would be interested to see quotations from the early English grammarians that presented spoken English as somehow inferior, or that demonstrated an imposition of inappropriate rules from Latin. >

Do you doubt that was the case?

If so, I guess you disagree with this:

"If they have studied "English Grammar", this is probably an encumbrance which they might well put aside for the present, since it is based on a more or less imitative recapitulation of Classical Latin Grammar, which is totally non-applicable to the English language as it now stands.

Lest this seem an arbitrary statement, let me note that English has no "Cases" of the noun, in fact is survives with nothing at all like the five Latin Cases. The English Verb does not match the six "Tenses" of the Latin verb at all, and the insistence on Person in English verbs, as compared to Latin, is virtually without meaning. The constant iteration of the word "Subjunctive" in English grammars is a weak and misleading term since the inherited subjunctive disappeared from the language centuries ago. "

http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/EngLatGrammar.html

Lowth's method included criticising "false syntax"; his examples of false syntax were culled from Shakespeare, the King James Bible, John Donne, John Milton, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and other famous writers, raising the question, by what authority did Lowth aspire to judge these writers' syntax? His approach was based largely on Latin grammar, and a number of his judgments were arrived at by applying Latin grammar to English, a misapplication according to critics of a later generation (and his own stated principles; he condemned "forcing the English under the rules of a foreign Language"). Thus Lowth condemns Addison's sentence "Who should I meet the other night, but my old friend?" on the grounds that the thing acted upon should be in the "Objective Case" (corresponding, as he says earlier, to an oblique case in Latin), rather than taking this example and others as evidence from noted writers that "who" can refer to direct objects.

http://www.answers.com/topic/robert-lowth

<I would be interested to see quotations from the early English grammarians that presented spoken English as somehow inferior,>

Lowth said that even though the use of a preposition to end a sentence was suited to the familiar style of writing, it was much less graceful and perspicuous than placing the preposition before the relative. I'd say there's an implication of inferiority there, wouldn't you?
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Milky<I would be interested to see quotations from the early English grammarians that presented spoken English as somehow inferior, or that demonstrated an imposition of inappropriate rules from Latin. >

Do you doubt that was the case?

"Doubt" is too strong a word. I would be interested to see the quotations.


If so, I guess you disagree with this:

"If they have studied "English Grammar", this is probably an encumbrance which they might well put aside for the present, since it is based on a more or less imitative recapitulation of Classical Latin Grammar, which is totally non-applicable to the English language as it now stands.

I would disagree that Classical Latin Grammar is "totally non-applicable" to the English language (or vice versa). It would be truer to say that many aspects of Latin grammar are non-applicable to English.

I would also disagree with the notion that the study of English grammar for any given person is bound to have been based on Latin grammar; though no doubt the statement is true for some people.


[Lowth] condemned "forcing the English under the rules of a foreign Language"1 ).

Sounds sensible.


His most famous (or infamous) contribution to the study of grammar was his prescription that sentences ending with a preposition —such as "what did you ask for?"—are inappropriate in formal writing.

Sounds doubtful. Though Lowth doesn't appear to mention Latin in his reasoning:


"This is an Idiom which our language is strongly inclined to; it prevails in common conversation, and suits very well with the familiar style in writing; but the placing of the Preposition before the Relative is more graceful, as well as more perspicuous; and agrees much better with the solemn and elevated Style."

And he seems to limit his prescription to the "solemn and elevated Style", which is a relatively rare form of English.


Thus Lowth condemns Addison's sentence "Who should I meet the other night, but my old friend?" on the grounds that the thing acted upon should be in the "Objective Case" (corresponding, as he says earlier, to an oblique case in Latin), rather than taking this example and others as evidence from noted writers that "who" can refer to direct objects.

I would not agree with Lowth about Addison's sentence; but nothing here suggests that his justification lay in Latin grammar.

"Objective case" doesn't seem a particularly pernicious phrase; "whom" is undeniably an example; and what remains of the objective case in English "corresponds" in some of its functions to the accusative case in Latin.

I know that some popular sources repeat the notion that early English grammarians attempted to impose Latin grammar on English; but I've yet to see any primary evidence.

MrP


[Lowth] condemned "forcing the English under the rules of a foreign Language"1).

Sounds sensible. >

True, but let's not forget he also claimed that Hebrew was spoken in heaven. I think he was giving Hebrew classes on the side. Emotion: wink

<And he seems to limit his prescription to the "solemn and elevated Style", which is a relatively rare form of English.>

You missed the bit about "more graceful".

<I know that some popular sources repeat the notion that early English grammarians attempted to impose Latin grammar on English; but I've yet to see any primary evidence.>

I'll have to dig it out. I'm sure I had such years ago.


I'll have to dig it out. I'm sure I had such years ago.

Well, don't go to any trouble. If you've seen examples, fair enough.

MrP
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