Research on Prescriptive Grammar and Its Comparison with Descriptive Grammar

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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…show more content…
Swift continues to propose an establishment of language Academy as France did to standardize language. Unfortunately his proposal is aborted along with the death of the British Queen (Crystal, 2006, p.68-74). Most of the earliest grammar literatures are based on Latin grammar. The publication of A Dictionary of the English Language, which is written by Samuel Johnson in 1755, marks the explosion of prescriptivism (Crystal, 2006, p.107). Soon after this, Bishop Lowth delivers Short Introduction to English Grammar in 1762, which claims the same ideas with Johnson’s. They observe that the grammar rules are rational and logical, and the language validity should follow the usage by people with higher education. It is obvious that the language they mentioned is not the one used by the general public; nevertheless, Lowth’s book has been regarded as the authority in England in the next 4 several decades. This period symbolizes the institution of prescriptive grammar. This traditional prescriptive grammar is holding the major position of authority over one century. Compared with prescriptive grammar, the historical development of descriptive grammar is relatively simpler. According to Baugh and Crystal, the early descriptive grammarians think that local language which is widely used by the public should be received great recognition. At that time, prescriptive grammarians have already been aware

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