Episode 16 – Grammar

In this episode I talk about grammar – what it is, where it comes from, how it develops, and how knowledge of grammar can help you to learn languages. This post was partly inspired by this post on the Polyglots (Community) group on Facebook.

What is grammar?

It is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as follows:

The whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken as consisting of syntax and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics.

A set of actual or presumed prescriptive notions about correct use of a language.

The Free Dictionary defines grammar as:

1a. The study of how words and their component parts combine to form sentences.

1b. The study of structural relationships in language or in a language, sometimes including pronunciation, meaning, and linguistic history.

2a. The system of inflections, syntax, and word formation of a language.

2b. The system of rules implicit in a language, viewed as a mechanism for generating all sentences possible in that language.

3a. A normative or prescriptive set of rules setting forth the current standard of usage for pedagogical or reference purposes.

3b. Writing or speech judged with regard to such a set of rules.

According to Wikipedia, grammar in linguistics is:

The set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes phonology, morphology, and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics.

To non-linguistics grammar might be:

rules of spelling and punctuation.

or

a generic way of referring to any aspect of English that people object to.

(Jeremy Butterfield)

I also invited members of the Omniglot Fan Club on Facebook to provide their definitions of grammar.

Music featured in this episode

The Bells of Hirael / Clychau Hirael

See the score for this tune

The Curious Pigeon / Y Colomen Chwilfrydig

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