Research on Prescriptive Grammar and Its Comparison with Descriptive Grammar

1995 Words Oct 27th, 2010 8 Pages
i

Research on Prescriptive Grammar and Its Comparison with Descriptive Grammar

ii Abstract In English linguistics, there are two approaches which are opposite to each other theoretically: prescriptive grammar and descriptive grammar. These two grammars were born in different historical conditions, and the application rules involved in has been still under the dispute through the development of English linguistics. It is significant to study the development trend and application in English language of both grammars, especially to English language learners. This paper attempts to trace the historical background of two grammars and works out the dialectic relationship between prescriptivism and descriptivism. The paper consists four
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Due to these reasons, people look forward to a better way to prescribe the language and resolve the dispute in language usage. The origin of the word “grammar” comes from Greek gramma, which refers to reading and writing (Dykema, 1961, p. 455; Martin & Rulon, 1973, p. 41), and English grammar is strongly influenced by Latin language in the Middle Ages. In eighteenth century, Latin language is considered to be the language used by the best educated people. Since the expansion of Great Britain Empire at that time, English becomes one of the

3 most important languages in the world. In order to beautify English, the linguistic scholars try their best to make English more closer to the Latin grammar and classical grammar both in form and syntax. At the same time, the upper ten also mobilize to promote the Standard Version English. Hence, the phenomenon of people who are learning this Standard English with grammar manuals could be seen everywhere. Under the background of the extreme desire of Standard English, Swift publishes Proposal for Correcting, Improving, and Ascertaining the English Tongue in 1710, which is the historical event of the development of prescriptive grammar. In the proposal, he asserts that the language people used at that time is far from perfect. Simultaneity, he points out that the language is being increasingly corrupted although people correct it everyday; people who lie

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