ERIC Number: ED258267
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Cultural Tradition of Nineteenth-Century "Traditional" Grammar Teaching.
Woods, William F.
By identifying the cultural roots of traditional grammar, a better understanding may occur as to why grammar will continue to be taught the way it is. The idea of "grammar as cultural heritage" begins with language and literature studies, which were the foundation of middle and upper class Roman schooling and included reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The program was considered a preparation for instruction in rhetoric and was integrated with the study of literature and with practice in writing. The interest in classical studies in Renaissance Europe resulted in the Latinized grammar of English, which was the foundation of English instruction until the middle of the nineteenth century. Three myths about the study of grammar developed: that it strengthens the mind for other tasks, that it "corrects" our language, and that it is a means of enculturation. Instead of grammar study, the study of vocabulary, etymology, syntax, and style can be brought into the lower division composition and literature courses where they can provide a discipline, that is, a common analytical vocabulary for close analysis of the text, a method for aiding interpretation and judgment of a piece of writing, and a sensitivity to the text that is possible through a sensitivity to and knowledge of language. (EL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (36th, Minneapolis, MN, March 21-23, 1985).