Lecture 30: Language Starts Over—Signs of the New
Creoles are the only languages that lack or have very little of the grammatical traits that emerge over time. In this, creole grammars are the closest to what the grammar of the first language was probably like.
Robert Lowth FRS (/laʊð/; 27 November 1710 – 3 November 1787) was a Bishop of the Church of England, Oxford Professor of Poetry and the author of one of the most influential textbooks of English grammar.
An interesting character with an outsize influence on modern English grammar. Dave Harris is sure to appreciate this.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
Lowth seems to have been the first modern Bible scholar to notice or draw attention to the poetic structure of the Psalms and much of the prophetic literature of the Old Testament. ❧
October 16, 2018 at 10:55AM
Lowth’s grammar is the source of many of the prescriptive shibboleths that are studied in schools, ❧
October 16, 2018 at 10:56AM
His most famous contribution to the study of grammar may have been his tentative suggestion that sentences ending with a preposition—such as “what did you ask for?”—are inappropriate in formal writing. ❧
October 16, 2018 at 10:56AM
Lindley Murray (27 March 1745 – 16 February 1826), was an American Quaker who moved to England and became a writer and grammarian.
Lecture 17: Dialects—The Standard as Token of the Past
When a dialect of a language is used widely in writing and literacy is high, the normal pace of change is artificially slowed, as people come to see "the language" as on the page and inviolable. This helps create diglossia.
Lecture 18: Dialects—Spoken Style, Written Style
We often see the written style of language as how it really "is" or "should be." But in fact, writing allows uses of language that are impossible when a language is only a spoken one.
Lecture 19: Dialects—The Fallacy of Blackboard Grammar
Understanding language change and how languages differ helps us see that what is often labeled "wrong" about people's speech is, in fact, a misanalysis.
Interesting to hear about the early “canonization” of English grammar by Robert Lowth and Lindley Murray.
This may be my favorite line of the entire code of conduct! I’m doing my best to resist….
The editor of our style guide on new rules, older folk and the plurality of data
The English language has evolved dramatically throughout its lifespan, to the extent that a modern speaker of Old English would be incomprehensible without translation. One concrete indicator of this process is the movement from irregular to regular (-ed) forms for the past tense of verbs. In this study we quantify the extent of verb regularization using two vastly disparate datasets: (1) Six years of published books scanned by Google (2003--2008), and (2) A decade of social media messages posted to Twitter (2008--2017). We find that the extent of verb regularization is greater on Twitter, taken as a whole, than in English Fiction books. Regularization is also greater for tweets geotagged in the United States relative to American English books, but the opposite is true for tweets geotagged in the United Kingdom relative to British English books. We also find interesting regional variations in regularization across counties in the United States. However, once differences in population are accounted for, we do not identify strong correlations with socio-demographic variables such as education or income. [.pdf]