Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: grammar nerd

Further Conversation about Grammar . . .


Our discussion about grammar has two previous posts on May 28th & May 30th… Grammar Conversation

You might be able to follow today’s part of the conversation without looking back at those two posts; but, I think you’ll gain a greater awareness of the breadth of opinion about grammar if you take a few minutes and scan them…

Forging ahead…

As is normal practice in our discussions, one comment on any given post’s topic can make the conversation continue; or, your comment might be, “Could we stop talking about __________ and discuss ____________ instead?” :-)

So, to continue, I’ll share portions of the last comment in this discussion ( from May 30th ) and also share my brief responses…

referencing the image in our last post

“In the photo at the top of this post, there’s a sentence ending with chess everyday. There’s no way those words, in that order, make sense grammatically. (Everyday is an adjective meaning ordinary or commonplace, something that happens every day. It’s possible to have everyday chess,but not chess everyday. It would have to be chess every day to work. Whoever graded that paper missed a blatant error. If teachers don’t know what’s correct, how can they teach their students? This is why we can’t have nice things… *sigh*”

I, personally, could accept “chess everyday”, if the sentence was poetic in nature; though, I can’t see what’s said before that particular set of words… Certainly seems to me that something like “My perfect life is simple—chess everyday.” Still, different folks opinions of the grammar in poetry differ far more than their opinions of “everyday” grammar…

quoting a sentence from a previous comment and making further comment

“’Latin no longer changes and I guess that is why its grammar does not either.’

“I would love to know what style guide/set of rules/whatever is being followed by writers who no longer use commas in compound sentences, for example. I’ve searched, and none of the usual style guides even say that such commas are optional, much less that they’re actually incorrect, yet I hear/read that from writers all the time. Where is this coming from?”

Personally, I had no problem understanding the quoted sentence…

And, I’m sure many folks could fruitfully contend that “style guides/sets of rules/ and whatevers” are an “option” for writers, as long as the intended meaning of the words is understood…

again, a previous comment is quoted and response given

“I’ve read (somewhere…) that grammar is ‘potentially’ present in the mind at birth—some feel there’s a proto-grammar that can ‘come forth’ in whatever language the child learns—mapping itself to the lay of the language-land…”

“According to anthropologists, it’s syntax that separates human communication from what all other animals do (yes, dogs certainly have communication, but they don’t have language, because their communication doesn’t have syntax), so I suppose you can say grammar is inherent in the human brain. Unfortunately, some people seem to want to reduce our communication to the level of mere calls (such as birds use — how appropriate) with only the most generalized meaning (‘This is scary’ or ‘Feed me’) and no added complexity of meaning from the order in which the calls are used (no syntax, etc.)”

 

Since I made the quoted comment ( and made it only to stimulate further conversation ), it appears it worked…

So, there we are—yet more divergence of opinion about the role and “texture” of grammar…

There is one last thing I can say with great confidence, since I’ve read widely enough to have experienced it and had endless discussions on the matter with a wonderful variety of folks…

There are a great number of esteemed writers who break most of the “canon” of grammar “rules”; yet, their readers seem to understand them quite well…

So…

Are there unbreakable rules of grammar?

Is it impossible to understand certain writings because they don’t adhere to what experts claim is proper writing?

Is language deep and broad enough to be used in many radically different ways which delight a wide variety of people…?

Is there some other topic in the realms of Writing, Reading, and Publishing you’d rather discuss…?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message

A Blog Conversation about Grammar . . .


Blog Conversation about Grammar Our last discussion here—A Blog Conversation about Book Promotion—had a very short life due to a lack of reader comments; but, having exercised my blogging muscles for seven years; and, to avoid talking to myself, I’ll begin a new conversation about “Grammar”…

Plus, I’ll start by going full-on Writing-Geek; then, I’ll calm down and share my own thoughts and feelings…

Here’s the complete word history of the term “grammar”:

late 14c., “Latin grammar, rules of Latin,” from Old French gramaire “grammar; learning,” especially Latin and philology, also “(magic) incantation, spells, mumbo-jumbo” (12c., Modern French grammaire), an “irregular semi-popular adoption” [OED] of Latin grammatica “grammar, philology,” perhaps via an unrecorded Medieval Latin form *grammaria. The classical Latin word is from Greek grammatike (tekhne) “(art) of letters,” referring both to philology and to literature in the broadest sense, fem. of grammatikos (adj.) “pertaining to or versed in letters or learning,” from gramma“letter” (see -gram). An Old English gloss of it was stæfcræft (see staff (n.)).

A much broader word in Latin and Greek; restriction of the meaning to “systematic account of the rules and usages of language” is a post-classical development. Until 16c. limited to Latin; in reference to English usage by late 16c., thence “rules of a language to which speakers and writers must conform” (1580s). Meaning “a treatise on grammar” is from 1520s. For the “magic” sense, compare gramary. The sense evolution is characteristic of the Dark Ages: “learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes,” which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of “occult knowledge” (late 15c. in English), which evolved in Scottish into glamour (q.v.).

grammar-school (late 14c.) originally was a school for learning Latin, which was begun by memorizing the grammar. In U.S. (1842) the term was put to use in the graded system for a school between primary and secondary where English grammar is one of the subjects taught. The word is attested earlier in surnames (late 12c.) such as Robertus Gramaticus, Richard le Gramarie, whence the modern surname Grammer.

My English teacher in college told us that what’s handed down as “English grammar” is actually Latin grammar desperately trying to grapple itself to English; and, until about five minutes ago, I never did research on her comment…

There were many articles to choose from; but, perhaps, an excerpt from Most of What You Think You Know About Grammar Is Wrong, in the Smithsonian magazine, will suffice:

“As bloggers at Grammarphobia.com and former New York Times editors, we’ve seen otherwise reasonable, highly educated people turn their writing upside down to sidestep imaginary errors. There’s a simple test that usually exposes a phony rule of grammar: If it makes your English stilted and unnatural, it’s probably a fraud.”

If you read that full article, you’ll find a number of specific “proofs” that most “grammar” that’s forced on eager young learners isn’t “faithful” to actual English grammar.

{{ …the writer of this post is now wondering what a person using the translation widget (up there on the left) is thinking about that last statement… }}

So, where is “actual” English grammar…?

I, personally, find I learn the best grammar by reading the best novels I can find; and, I can only imagine; but, feel it’s more than likely true, that folks using other languages can learn their own grammars the same way…

However, being a life-long maverick, I have been known to use whatever feels right in certain situations…

How does someone choose which novels to read to help their mind easily absorb some grammar…?

Well…

Whatever appeals to you…

If you’ve chosen the wrong books, someone, eventually, will let you know…

Whose books have I used to help me constrain the wilder aspects of my maverickness?

C. J. Cherryh

So…

All it takes for this conversation to continue is a comment from You :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message

Interviewing Authors and Sharing Interviews . . .


Regular readers probably read the most recent author interview, detailing efforts to promote and market books

Author Interviews

Image from Michal Zacharzewski, SXC

And, to prep for this post, I counted up all the Author Interviews on this blog (as of this date…)—and, it’s 80.

For various reasons, it’s taken me a bit over six years to gather-up those interviews.

So…

I spend a bit of time on Twitter…

And, because my posts here get pushed out to the TweetVerse, I have folks following me and it only seems fair to consider following them (except for the people who only want to sell me Twitter Followers…).

So…

Not so many days ago, I noticed I’d received a Follow from @ERHardcastle, who turned out to be the author, editor, and literary-innovator, E. Rachael Hardcastle.

It’s only been a few days since I followed back and exchanged a few Tweets with her…

I noticed she works hard at gathering author interviews.

I compared my 80 in 6 years; and, found out she’d gathered over 50 author interviews in 2016!

Plans are for us to swap interviews

E. Rachael Hardcastle But who is this author?

Here’s her Bio:

Hi, I’m Rachael.

I’m a dreamer, a deep thinker, a bookworm and grammar nerd.

I write poetry between imaginative high fantasy, post-apocalyptic and science fiction novels.

I believe that through writing we face our darkest fears, explore infinite new worlds and realize our true purpose. I write to entertain and share important morals and values with the world, but above all, I write to be a significant part of something incredible.

All my fantasy and post-apocalyptic books face our planet’s struggles because I believe that together we can build a stronger future for the human race.

I support independent publishing so all my stories are written, edited, formatted and published by me, offering a low-cost, epic adventure and a memorable escape from reality for my readers.

I also discovered she does writing workshops with kids—this is why I called her a literary-innovator up there…

Here’s what one of the teachers said to her:

“Many thanks for your inspirational work with our Year 6 children who have really enjoyed their time with you. You have made them believe that writing is fun and that anyone can be an author if they work hard enough – and made it possible for them to be published authors too! We are very proud of our book and have it in pride of place in the classroom at the moment. Thank you!”

FIONA MEER, DEPUTY HEAD OF LOW ASH PRIMARY SCHOOL, 09/01/2017

And, here’s a video (cute, funny, engaging, revealing) about her preparation for the coverage she received on the Made In Leeds TV show (her segment,in the TV station video, begins at the 4:50 mark):

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com