ERIC Number: ED199736
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Usage: Or Back to Basics: An Old Saw Resharpened.
Stalker, James C.
As an emotional topic, concern with acceptable usage of language has never been far from the public consciousness, but the public's willingness to abide by educators' views on the necessity of teaching usage rules has varied over the years. The situation we face is not a new one--the eighteenth century saw the initial widespread concern with correctness in language and the subsequent development of grammars and dictionaries that specified in some detail which parts of the language were deteriorating and then specified rules and regulations for stopping that deterioration. The 1886 high school grammar book, "Higher Lessons," by A. Reed and B. Kellogg further perpetuated the study of grammar and introduced the diagraming of sentences. Through the 1930s and 1940s, English educators became more accepting of the view that usage was really a matter of appropriateness. During the 1950s, teacher training followed the development of grammatical theory, from traditional to structural to transformational grammar. More recently, sociolinguistic research makes it clear that questions of usage are trivial--real writing problems have little to do with a knowledge of grammar. A return to the basics, however, calls for a return to traditional grammar. English teachers can construe "back to the basics" to mean that future students must be more knowledgeable about language and understand the difference between grammar and usage. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Back to Basics
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (11th, Dearborn, MI, April 10-12, 1980).