A Student's Introduction to. English Grammar. RODNEY HUDDLESTON. Ullil' ersity of Queensland. GEOFFREY K. PULLUM. Ulliversity ()f Caliji)mia, Santa Cru . When preparing raw food it's important to be hygienic and store your edibles safely. Using a big tablespoon, By eati The Grammar of English Grammars. Cambridge Core - Grammar and Syntax - A Student's Introduction to English Grammar - by Rodney Huddleston. PDF; Export citation. Contents. pp v-v. Access.

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A Student's Introduction to English Grammar - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. This groundbreaking undergraduate textbook on modern Standard English grammar is the first to be based on the revolutionary advances of the authors. Cambridge University Press. - A Student's Introduction to English Grammar. Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum. Frontmatter.

Which would you consider acceptable English? People, even linguists, are not always good at knowing what they would and would not use: if you ask people about things like this, you will quickly find that what they say they do and what they actually do can be quite different. The thing to always bear in mind is that all speakers of English are dialect speakers — they all speak at least one dialect of English.

Standard English happens to be the most important dialect in terms of the way society operates. It might surprise you to hear this called a dialect, because people tend to talk about the standard language, but this is a misleading label.

Standard English is one of many different dialects of English — it just happens to be the dialect that currently has the greatest clout. How it got to this elevated position, however, is a series of geographical and historical coincidences. Standard English was originally a local prestigious dialect of the London—Central Midland region and it just ended up at the right place at the right time.

When varieties come to dominate in this way, it is never on account of linguistic reasons. London English piggybacked on a series of geographical, cultural, economic and political episodes.

These had the effect of putting London English in such a position that standardization was inevitable. It has nothing to do with a variety being perfect, but it has everything to do with economic, political and social context. Introduction: the glamour of grammar Standard English is a good dialect to know.

In many ways Standard English now represents a kind of global lingua franca; it has been codified; in other words, recorded in grammars, dictionaries and style books. For example, if we think of the English used in Manchester or Melbourne the two varieties that make up the bulk of the examples in this textbook , their distinctive character is to be found largely in phonology i.

Speakers of non-standard varieties in these places, however, show not only differences of accent and vocabulary, but also significant grammatical differences. A distinctively Manchester or Melbourne English is much more apparent in these varieties, especially in colloquial or informal usage.

You will be seeing some spectacular examples of non-standard grammatical diversity later in this book. The fact that the standard variety has been codified must not be taken to mean that it is intrinsically better than other dialects.

All dialects are equally good for the purposes they serve. They all have their own particular rules; they just do things differently.

In this book we will not concern ourselves with questions of correctness. If you are doing grammar in order to teach people English, then you will have to make statements like these. Our task, however, is not to tell people what they should say, but to study what they do in fact say. Our aim is to make descriptive statements and to make you good at studying the English that exists around you.

A Student's Introduction to English Grammar

We will discover that native speakers of English will not use sentences like a and e above, unless they are speaking Dutch, in which case they might use a , or have a serious speech impediment, in which case they might possibly use constructions similar to e. In fact with the exception of the two we adapted ourselves, all of these were naturally occurring sentences, appearing in various editions of The Big Issue during and You can make descriptive statements about English by studying native speakers of English.

In spite of the feelings of some people, you can never stop a living language from 3 Introducing English Grammar changing. Yet it still hovers on the border between standard and non-standard — and certainly none of the linguistic inspectors would recommend its usage!

However, give it time and we suspect it will become accepted. In fact, behind these labels lies a reality of tremendous flux and variance. Some of the sentence examples earlier gave you a taste of this. Now look at those below to see how far this variation extends.

Let people laugh at you only. The variation we see here falls along two dimensions. The first, illustrated by examples a and b as opposed to the rest, involves variation across time.

Time influences language. And if the time span is long enough, the changes can be truly spectacular, as these examples show. The second dimension is variation across space. There are two types of space involved — geographical and social. At any given point in time, English will differ both between countries and within the same country. In this respect, English is probably more diverse than ever before.

As it trots around the globe as it has been doing since its initial expansion years ago towards Wales and Scotland , it comes into contact with many Introduction: the glamour of grammar different environments and languages. This triggers a burgeoning of diversity in the form of hybrids, dialects, nativized varieties, pidgins and creoles.

Some of these are illustrated in examples c and d. Any socially significant group of people will differ in their linguistic behaviour.

For example, social parameters to do with age, sex, sexual preference, socio-economic class, education and occupational status of speakers will typically correlate with the way sounds, vocabulary and grammar vary — people wear different linguistic features like badges of identity.

Example f is a piece of colloquial teenspeak not confined to Australia. Age is an important social division in all cultures, and not surprisingly it is something people demonstrate through their use of language. Our language varies constantly in response to different situational factors, including things like the relationship between speakers and their audience and even others who might be within earshot , the setting, the subject matter, or whether a spoken or written medium is used.

There is no one English, no one monolithic entity with a fixed, unchanging set of linguistic features. What they have in common is a shared history. All have links of some sort with the group of continental Germanic dialects that ended up in the British Isles sometime in the fifth century ad. And most are, to a greater or lesser extent, mutually comprehensible.

Obviously, in order to make this introductory look at the structure of English work, given that it will inevitably attract a diverse reading audience, we need to settle on one kind of English. We will therefore be using Standard English. In Chapter 11, we will also examine some very different grammatical features from colloquial varieties of the New and Other Englishes around the world.

Basically the prescriptive approach is one that tells you how you ought to speak. This is language doing the right thing — language that wipes its feet before it enters a room and that leaves the room before it breaks wind!

Do not use an apostrophe for possessive its. Do not use who as the object of a verb or preposition. Do not use data as a singular noun.

Do not end a sentence with a preposition like to. Case study — to lay or to lie? Lay across my big brass bed. Or take the following Big Issue example: If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

The argument goes that it indicates an ignorance of a feature in English known as transitivity. The verb lay is transitive; hence hens lay eggs.

Many linguists for example, Dwight Bolinger have pointed out the problems of the lay—lie rule for modern-day speakers. For a start, these two verbs lay and lie share forms — the past of lie is lay. The problem then is, if you put this in the past you get I lay down for a bit. In normal fast speech the [d] of down transfers to the end of lay and you get laid the past tense of lay — is it any wonder that speakers confuse the verbs and arrive at to lay down!

It is time to switch off the life support system for the lay—lie distinction — as Dwight Bolinger has argued, the price of maintaining it is just too high. The problem is of course that language so often becomes the arena where social issues are played out.

The use of a particular word or construction can be a social advantage or disadvantage. Linguistic bigotry is rife and language prejudices are often simply accepted, never challenged.

In short, because of the way society operates, sentences like If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas can put people at a disadvantage. For this reason English teachers must give students access to these rules.

But do guard against putting the prescriptive cart before the usage horse! Certainly a book like this one will always emphasize the need for linguists to retain an objectively descriptive stance and to avoid anything that smacks of moral and aesthetic judgement. Imagine a linguist who Introduction: the glamour of grammar condemns a native speaker for saying yous, not you! It would be much like a zoologist who condemns a dromedary for having one hump, not two! Linguistic science has to found its theories on observed behaviour.

For this purpose we need to study objectively the language that people do use, and the changes that actually take place. Other linguists are interested in the factors which motivate people to use one construction rather than another. Take one of the other rules given earlier. In English we encounter sentences like Whom did you see? Both alternatives are used — but in quite different contexts. Imagine saying Whom did you see? But there are contexts, say a formal piece of prose, where you might well imagine writing something like that.

Language is clearly not an absolute matter of putting a tick or a star beside a sentence. Apart from believing the study of language should fall into general knowledge, why might linguists want to make descriptive statements about English? For those linguists who specialise in grammar, or syntax, there are in fact a number of different reasons. Typology For instance, we might be interested in comparing English with other languages, and in order to do so, we need a detailed description of English.

If we consider English in a typological perspective, we can say, for instance, that it belongs to the group of languages which require a subject. Compare the four English sentences below with the two Italian ones. Hence the English sentences c and d are ungrammatical, whereas a and b are perfectly okay: 7 Introducing English Grammar a I am eating. English Italian Mangio.

I eat 1st person singular Piove. We will return to the issue of what a subject is later. Even in b , where the subject it cannot really be said to carry any meaning, it is still obligatory, since d is ungrammatical. This contrasts with Italian, where a subject is not obligatory, as the grammatical sentences e and f show. What about examples like the following? Still got tea in it from last year. Might have a slug. AUS This is written English, obviously, but it is deliberately imitating a casual spoken style; hence the lack of subjects.

English can leave things out under special circumstances. Diary writing, for example, is distinguished by missing subject pronouns Felt sick.

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Spent day in bed. Cookery-speak may also leave out otherwise obligatory elements when they can be understood from context: Dice elephant; cook over kerosene fire. Serves 3, people. These are known as different registers of the standard; in other words, varieties associated with particular contexts or purposes see also Chapter Steven Warrington, king of the on-line ostrich-dealers, talks to Richard Ewart.

Stockport is not a place usually associated with Australian exotica. From the other side of the Atlantic. However, what we are more interested in here are the first and the last sentences.

Or are they sentences? Well, they are clearly a tad unconventional, and your English teacher would probably have corrected them, but they are used.

We have nothing Introduction: the glamour of grammar to say about whether or not people should be using them, we just want to say that throughout this book, when we use the term sentence, we will mean the more conventional type like the other sentences of this example. It is only through detailed studies of the grammars of many languages that we can make statements about differences and similarities between languages.

Interesting questions arise as to why certain languages share properties while others do not. Sometimes shared typological features are the result of genetic inheritance, but not necessarily. Similarities can also arise because languages have undergone the same sort of changes, either independently motivated or perhaps brought about through contact.

Tree 1 shows you how the Germanic languages are related. Note, Gothic is now extinct; all that remains are records of a partial Bible translation from the fourth century. There were other East Germanic languages for which we have no records. English and German are genetically related but they belong to different word order typologies, English being S ubject V erb O bject and German Verb-Second i.

Old English, on the other hand, was typologically more like German in its word order.

Conversely, English and Chinese are both SVO languages; yet they do not belong to the same genetic group. Universal grammar For a number of linguists, the ultimate goal of the study of the grammars of individual languages is not to compare languages, but to find out how the human brain deals with language. Children learn language surprisingly quickly and accurately considering the input they get.

For instance, most of the language that a child hears does not actually consist of full grammatical sentences; people are always interrupting themselves or changing their minds halfway through a sentence. They get language almost entirely in the shape of long strings of sounds where there are no significant pauses between words. Children also get language input mainly in a positive form, and rarely in a negative form. What we mean by this is that they hear lots of language which they can assume to be correct, but they rarely get told what is incorrect.

Parents do sometimes try to correct their children, but often they are not conscious enough of their own language to do it to any greater extent. Furthermore, children very early on become interestingly creative with language.

It is quite clear that they cannot be learning language by straight imitation, since they understand and produce strings of words which they have never heard. Facts like these have led some linguists and psychologists to assume that the human mind must be somehow pre-disposed towards learning a language; others link the development of language more closely to the general cognitive development of children.

According to those who favour a predisposition explanation, there is a part of the brain which contains knowledge at birth of what is and what is not a possible language. We are, then, said to be born with an innate grammar, or a language acquisition device lad and a task for linguistics is to find out more about this innate grammar. If you have ever heard of the linguist Noam Chomsky and if people have heard of one linguist, he is usually the one , this is the line of research that he proposes to follow.

A child will learn the language or languages spoken around him or her, even if this is not the language of the biological parents. Also, there is no evidence that children learn some languages faster than others. Children growing up in a monolingual Cantonese community will learn Cantonese at the same age that children growing up in a mono-lingual English environment learn English. In a worldwide perspective such communities are in fact rare. Most children in the world grow up learning at least two languages.

Remember that the innate grammar, which is assumed to be universal, is a mental phenomenon, an abstract structure in the brain. One goal of linguistic research is to find out more about universal grammar, regardless of whether one assumes this is an abstract language-specific component of the brain or the result of general properties of human cognition.

However, there is no obvious direct way of studying universal grammar since it is an abstract entity. There is as yet no brain scanner that can be used to study this innate grammar. What linguists who pursue this line of research do is study in great depth the grammars of individual languages. By comparing in-depth studies of many different languages, we can find out more about properties shared by languages and maybe also about properties that no language has. A detailed study of English grammar can reveal things about universal grammar.

So, under this approach, we can say that the ultimate purpose of our study of English grammar is to understand universal grammar and how children acquire language.

But there is a long way to go from one to the other! It should be pointed out here that a linguist need not be either a typologist or a person who believes in innate grammar. He or she can be both, or indeed neither. There are a number of proposed explanations for language acquisition. It is also important to remember that innate grammar is just one proposed hypothesis; it may turn out to be entirely the wrong way of thinking about things, but for the time being, a large number of linguists use it as their working hypothesis.

Speech therapy The two motivations for doing English grammar which we have mentioned so far have important repercussions in other fields.

This can be due to developmental problems or to illness which damages a language faculty that had previously been fully developed. An important task for speech therapists is to develop techniques which can help these people improve their communicative abilities.

In this book, we aim to teach you this and provide the tools you need. Foreign language learning The teaching profession, above all foreign language learning, is another obvious practical application of the study of English grammar.

A knowledge of English grammatical structures is helpful when you are learning the grammatical structures of another language, or having to teach them to others. In particular, if you are a native speaker of English, being trained to think about your language in a scientific way is very different from the sort of unconscious knowledge you have by simply being a speaker of the 11 Introducing English Grammar language.

Formal linguistic training will make you a much more effective language learner and teacher. Stylistics Some of you may be more interested in literature than in linguistics.

Let us assure you that the things you learn in this book can be of great use also to people who study literature. Literature in any form, be it prose, poetry or drama, is built up of language, and a detailed study of the language used in any piece of literature can be very revealing.

There is one branch of linguistics called stylistics which is devoted to the study of how language is used in literature. But also in non-literary texts you will find grammatical analysis a useful tool.

Under stylistics we can also include the field of effective communication, in particular effective writing. This is not to say that linguistic awareness will instantly make you an effective communicator. You just have to read some examples of linguistic prose to know that this is not the case — there is a lot of turgid and very obscure writing around. If that were the case, William Shakespeare would have probably ended up a glove maker like his father John! Nonetheless, there can be no doubt that a knowledge of language structure will make you more skilled in handling your own language, particularly when it comes to good writing.

After all, writing is not a natural activity in the same way that speech is — writing has to be explicitly taught after basic grammar, sounds and vocabulary have been acquired as spoken language. While there are many societies whose languages remain unwritten, ours is one that places considerable emphasis on writing.

With a knowledge of grammar comes a feeling for sentence patterning, and this means we can better evaluate the different choices that confront us when we draft something written, such as a speech or a report.

In all these it is very important that the people working within the field use the same terminology. For this reason, an important aspect of this book will be to define a common terminology. Since this is a book on English grammar, and not on typology, stylistics or communication disorders, we will not discuss these topics any further here, but we mention them in order to give you an idea of why one might want to embark on a study of English grammar. The facts you learn to do with English grammar turn out to have all sorts of applications in the workplace and are useful in a variety of jobs.

Here are some you might not have thought about. Tolkien himself was an Oxford Professor of English Language and Literature and he spent a lot of his time on constructed languages he also nearly became a codebreaker during World War II.

There are, of course, the authors who produce material for print and online media. There are the technical writers who specialize in producing materials such as instruction manuals and software documentation. And there are the editors who appraise and select content for publication. These are the people with a keen nose for ill-chosen words, grammatical errors, infelicities of style and punctuation.

Linguistic research is the key to progress in these areas and training in language structure is a necessity for these new career paths. Such information becomes increasingly important for products being sold globally. In the airline industry, for example, disasters have occurred because of misunderstandings between control towers and pilots. While faulty communication is a linguistic fact of life, there is much that can be done, particularly in the development of technology, to help avoid such communication tragedies.

In fact, there is even a separate discipline called forensic linguistics that connects language, law and crime. Work here might involve, for instance, the handwriting and stylistic analyses of documents to develop writer profiles to determine authorship perhaps resolving that it was the deceased who actually wrote the suicide note. Some linguists have also been working hard to expose the kinds of miscommunication that can arise when defendants speak a non-standard form of English.

Language in legal 13 Introducing English Grammar settings, in particular, is characterized by a highly technical vocabulary and difficult structure and expert evidence in and outside the courtroom, police warnings, even jury instructions, have been shown to be notoriously difficult for non-lawyers to understand.

These are just a taste of the sorts of enterprising things you can do with the specific facts you learn in this book. But you know, there are also people who actually like doing English grammar for its own sake and these are people who lead otherwise perfectly normal lives!

However, if you are not one of those, it might be nice to know that in all likelihood the things you learn here will prove useful to you in other areas.

For example, we could study the way they sound, or the way in which people interpret them. However, this is a book specifically about grammar, and we will study how words are put together to make up the sentences. Things like the sound or the meaning of English are studied in other subfields of linguistics.

Apart from its appalling reputation as being dry and boring quite undeserved! There are those who even use grammar to mean the whole system of language — namely, all the sounds, words and possible sentences. It is therefore more accurate to say that this is a book about the syntax of English. It is, however, virtually impossible to study syntax without also considering at least morphology and semantics; so these two fields will also play some part in the book. Very often, there are different grammatical constructions that can be used to represent the same basic information, as in Giggs scored the goal that took United into the next round of the cup versus The goal that Introduction: the glamour of grammar took United into the next round of the cup was scored by Giggs.

The choice between two constructions is frequently determined by how the speaker or writer wants to present the information to the hearer or reader ; in this case, this involves things like the amount of emphasis on Giggs for instance. In Chapter 9 we will then also be venturing beyond the sentence to see how chunks of text are organised and how this may influence the structure of sentences.

Basically it deals with how we as speakers and writers go about packaging our messages; how we distribute information in a text to help our audience interpret the text appropriately. Exercises 1. Public opinions about English The following statements illustrate some popular beliefs about language and the English language, in particular.

You can hear them aired on talkback radio and you can read them in letters to the editor. Discuss these statements — think about whether you agree or disagree with them and try to support your answers with examples.

English is the language of England. English is the hardest language to learn.

Writing is a more perfect form of language than speech. The English language is going to the dogs. It would be simpler, and more sociable, if we all spoke the same. Bringing up a child bilingually is damaging. Language prescription The following letter by A.

Whom can we enlist to protect it? What arguments do you think A. Taskunas would use do defend the existence of whom? What do you think a descriptive grammarian would have to say on the matter?

Acceptability Read each of the following sentences.

Your task is to make a judgement on the relative acceptability of each sentence. Try to answer as honestly as you can and give reasons for your view! You can also do a small survey 15 Introducing English Grammar among other native speakers to see how similar your views are.

Indicate your judgement by placing a number 1—4 by each of the sentences. The scale of acceptability is as follows: 1. Totally unacceptable 2. I would not use it but some people would 3. I would use it, but only in some contexts 4. Totally acceptable and natural a See yous later! It was me. AUS p Then I got eaten by flies.

AUS 4. Make a list of the non-standard forms and give the standard equivalents. This involves, among other things, two important tasks: a determining what the structure of a sentence is; and b describing the elements which make up the structure.

In this chapter we concentrate on the first. The second of these tasks involves attaching some sort of category label to the parts of a sentence and we come to that in Chapter 3. There is, however, also a different kind of structure to words. For one, they can be divided into smaller units of meaning. Ellen seems to have been aware that words can consist of parts which both exist separately as words.

Nils, Ellen and Paul all seem to be aware of the fact that words have internal structure. As already mentioned in Chapter 1, the area which deals with the structure of words is called morphology.

The parts which make up words are The structure of sentences morphemes. The morpheme is best described as the smallest unit of meaning in the structure of the language. However, a potential unit of meaning is only a morpheme of a word if the meaning it contributes is part of that word. By this we mean that we cannot divide the unit any more without severely altering the meaning. For example, cardigan, pumpkin and cook are all words and they are also single morphemes.

Take the word cardigan. As one complete unit by itself, it has meaning, and while we can apparently divide it into smaller units like car, dig and an, these have meanings which are not associated with the word cardigan. These segments have meanings totally unrelated to pumpkin.

Now, there are a number of different types of morphemes.

There are a number of reasons. We believe that every educated person in the English-speaking world should know something about the details of the grammar of English. See www. David Lee. At the level of small but fas- cinating details.

Some think the study of English grammar is as dry as dust. Santa Cruz. The process of writing this book. Laurie Bauer in New Zealand. And most importantly. Geoff Nunberg. It is based on a much bigger one. Ted Briscoe. That book often contains much fuller discussion of the analysis we give here. The School of English. David Denison. Betty Birner. Chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of California. Peter Peterson. We have con- stantly drawn on the expertise that was provided to CGEL by the other contributors: Peter Collins.

Frank Palmer. Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland generously continued to provide an academic and electronic home for Rodney Huddleston while he worked full-time on this project.

Vivienne Huddleston and Barbara Scholz. And even at the level of the broad framework of grammatical principles. Flag for inappropriate content.


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Daniela Balaban. Artizanul Moldova. Strange Eren. Condila Anca Cristina. Dmitry Volov. Quynh Nguyen. Alexandre Soares. Developments in English for Specific Purposes. Irineu Cruzeiro.This little word tells us that the speaker is referring to something which she assumes is known to the hearer. Building words — inflection versus derivation There are two main types of word-building involving bound morphemes.

Standard English happens to be the most important dialect in terms of the way society operates. All the constituency tests are therefore designed to check whether the string in question can function as a unit.

It would be simpler, and more sociable, if we all spoke the same. Native speakers can divide sentences into groups of words which seem to belong together more closely than others. ETAQ have declared that they will not publish any further material on the Coalface dispute, so Rodney Huddleston's reply appears here instead.