Learning English Basic Grammar – what Is Grammar?

Expressing ourselves effectively to the second person is the key to successful communication. Whether it’s verbal or written, in French or English, it is very important to follow the set of rules pertaining to the particular language. One must be aware of the syntax of the language get one’s thoughts across effectively and efficiently and grammar is exactly what is meant for this purpose!

Echoing David Crystal, “Grammar is the structural foundation of our ability to express ourselves. The more we are aware of how it works, the more we can monitor the meaning and effectiveness of the way we and others use language. It can help foster precision, detect ambiguity, and exploit the richness of expression available in English. And it can help everyone–not only teachers of English, but teachers of anything, for all teaching is ultimately a matter of getting to grips with meaning.”

Grammar in olden days was a glamorous subject or so is pertained by the fact that people in Scotland pronounced grammar like ‘glamour’ and associated it with enchantments and wonderful magic. Though, today the situation is such that grammar is a phobia for many students and not at all glamorous for anyone whatsoever.

Types of grammar

Grammar is divided into two broad categories for better usage: Descriptive and Prescriptive grammar.

Descriptive grammar is the actual study and understanding of a subject and is the way it is spoken and written.

Prescriptive grammar is a set of rules as aids of learning that language and refers to the language as certain people think it should be.

This was just the beginning. Furthermore, grammar has ten types.

Comparative grammar: This refers to the study and comparison of structures of linked languages. As R. Freidin puts it as, “a faculty of language that provides an explanatory basis for how a human being can acquire a first language . . . In this way, the theory of grammar is a theory of human language and hence establishes the relationship among all languages”.

Generative Grammar: This refers to the set of rules that the speaker accepts as belonging to the language originally. In other words, it is the speaker’s inbuilt or rather subconscious ability of producing utterances in a particular language using pre requisite knowledge.

Mental Grammar: This kind of grammar is right there in the brain and persists within all humans. It is the generative grammar that helps formulate sentences that makes sense and carries your thoughts and ideas to other human beings.

Pedagogical Grammar: These are the set of rules designed for students who have the language as their second language, if you get what I mean. As D. Little said about perspectives of this, “Pedagogical grammar is a slippery concept. The term is commonly used to denote (1) pedagogical process–the explicit treatment of elements of the target language systems as (part of) language teaching methodology; (2) pedagogical content–reference sources of one kind or another that present information about the target language system; and (3) combinations of process and content.”

Performance Grammar: This is a description of the set of rules of English in a way that is used by dialogue speakers. This deals with the production of the language. The beauty or sharpness of the language is altered properly if you refer to this syntax.

Reference Grammar: This gives explanations and directions about construction of words, sentences, phrases, clauses, etc. How they are formed and their types are included. Modern reference Grammar books include A comprehensive grammar of the English language by Randolph Quirk.

Theoretical Grammar: This is the study of the vital aspects of any language spoken by humans. This is concerned with clearing the rules of the language and displaying them to all.

Traditional Grammar: This is a kind of perceptual language. It creates distinction between what people are doing with the language and what they should be doing instead. It models historically pure grammar.

Transformational Grammar: This kind of grammar can be referred to as a set of unwritten laws or something alike. These are not pre defined rules but something that are kept in mind while interpreting.

Universal Grammar: This initially organizes the state f mind of the language learner, i.e. organizes human faculty.

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