LIN204 reading notes _ Ch 1 Why Study English Grammar.pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Safieh Moghaddam

Ch 1 Why Study English Grammar July-03-13 5:24 PM Native Speakers and Grammar Study - "knowing" a language can occur at diff levels - "knowing" a language so you can use it …. Is not the same as "knowing" a language so you can explain how it works - Another reason people study grammar of English is to find out what is "correct" - Not everyone speaks same way - Some forms of English = higher social value - Linguistically - no one form is better than another - Some signal lower class or lower education vice versa Standard English - Standard American English = form of English in public discourse in USA ○ Recognized as english of educated, irrespective of region, gender or ethnicity - English - like any language - is not just a set of rules ○ It is a product of human behavior over hundreds of years and continue to evolve - Standard vs non-standard ○ Variation in terms of 'correctness', 'acceptability', and 'normality' ○ Regional differences  e.g. southerners say "pin" and "pen" alike  "cot-caught" merger  Faucet is also called spigot - Hypercorrection = nonstandard language that results when people misapply a grammatical rule in order to avoid a grammatical error ○ e.g. between you and I ○ Even though nonstandard, may signal higher status Judgments about English - Before printing press intro to England -> there was no recognized standard, or real need for one - Much of important writing was in French / Latin - English was only oral and informal purposes - Varied from place to place (esp N and S) - William Caxton intro printing press in England 1476 - People had no common spelling system when wrote English ○ English can be spelt 2 different ways: English or Englysch - Lack of written standard was a practical concern - London was a prosperous city - recognized for center of learning  Oxford  Cambridge ○ Thus london english = model for formal standard - Thought English was "pure"
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