[Ads-l] Loss of the English dative

Randy Alexander strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 12 05:25:36 UTC 2015

On Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 12:28 AM, Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at gmail.com> wrote:

> The Association for the Teaching of English Grammar list ATEG-L has
> discussed this a number of times, and it appears that this lack of
> consensus on grammatical terminology is one of the bigger reasons why some
> linguistically informed view of English grammar is not taught in the
> schools.  And list members of various theoretical persuasions are unable to
> come together on a proposal for a common set of terms, since such a set is
> tied intimately to one's views on grammar.

This is a big problem.  Grammar is thought of more as a belief system than
something that can be examined scientifically, even now that we have huge
corpora like COCA, and comprehensive surveys of English grammar like CGEL.
One thing that can help a bit is to give these theoretical models names
(and some of them do have names, like "systemic functional grammar"), but
some grammar theorists don't want to give some kind of name to their model,
as if (perhaps correctly) their model is the fittest one (empirically).  If
we can teach Newtonian physics and Euclidean geometry, why not
Huddlestonian grammar (or whatever)?

[Yes, I know I'm barking up the wrong tree.]

Randy Alexander
Manchu studies: http://www.sinoglot.com/manchu
Language in China (group blog): http://www.sinoglot.com/
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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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