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ERIC Number: ED159670
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-May
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Grammar A and Grammar B: Rhetorical Life and Death.
Guinn, Dorothy Margaret
In the past, writers have chosen stylistic devices within the parameters of the traditional grammar of style, "Grammar A," characterized by analyticity, coherence, and clarity. But many contemporary writers are creating a new grammar of style, "Grammar B," characterized by synchronicity, discontinuity, and ambiguity, which relies on such devices as unconnected verbal units, labyrinthine sentences, sentence fragments, lists, and voices presenting contradictory viewpoints. To assess readers' reactions to the different styles, 46 college students were asked to read 16 short selections--seven products of Grammar B, eight products of Grammar A, and one product of a schizophrenic mind--and to rank them according to difficulty or ease of comprehension. Results indicated that, on the whole, students felt disoriented and even threatened when reading Grammar B selections and were more baffled by some Grammar B pieces than by the schizophrenic prose. Although formlessness is threatening partly because it is unfamiliar, people's natural abhorrence of disorder causes a rejection of extreme syntactic innovations. For readers to recreate the meaning intended by the author, there must be a generous ration of the familiar to the strange. (The 16 selections rated by students are included.) (GW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Reader Response
Note: Paper presented at the Theory and Rhetoric Conference (Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 5-6, 1978)