What is grammar - Essay Example

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Both grammars and dictionaries reflect important aspects of language: dictionaries provide the elementary building blocks, and the grammars specify how these blocks are combined to make…
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Download file to see previous pages (Aitchison, 1993 p. 125) Respectively, grammar can be formal, notional, and functional. Formal grammar concentrates on the study of linguistic forms; it may apply formalized techniques of logic and mathematics.
Notional, or semantic, grammar studies the meaning of linguistic patterns; it assumes the existence of extralinguistic categories in order to define grammatical units. Formal and notional grammars are competence grammars that center on the speaker’s knowledge of language (the rules the speaker must know to use the language properly). Competence grammar contrasts with functional grammar which studies the use of linguistic patterns in speech and writing. Competence grammars are primarily linguocentric; they study the language without its relation to the speakers and the situation of speech. Performance grammars are mostly anthropocentric; they consider the linguistic patterns used in speech and influenced by the characteristics of the speakers and the communicative situations.
Lingocentric and anthropocentric grammars can be practical and theoretical. Practical, or normative, grammars are prescriptive; they attempt to establish rules for the correct use of language in society. The speakers of language use practical grammars as reference books. Theoretical grammars are descriptive; they provide a precise account of language in its actual usage. A theoretical grammar may go beyond the study of individual languages, in which case it uses linguistic data as a means of developing insights into the nature of language as such, and into the categories and processes needed for linguistic analysis. (Aitchison, 1993 p. 148)
Theoretical grammars describing the linguistic patterns at a particular period of time are called synchronic grammars. Synchronic grammars comparing the systems of two or more languages are called comparative grammars. Along with synchronic grammars, there are diachronic, or historical, grammars that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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