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Is there a Standard English Grammar?

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IS THERE A STANDARD ENGLISH GRAMMAR? Published 2013 by Stuart Kelly, Bradford, England Reproduced from an original document 2007 http://www.stuart-kelly.co.uk I propose firstly, to set out what I understand by the terms prescriptive, descriptive and pedagogical when applied to the various approaches to English usage. Then examine the assertion that there are hundreds of grammars around the world and present the case for a Standard English grammar and its implications for the teaching of English throughout the world. Proponents of a prescriptive grammar aim to tell people how to speak a language rather than to describe how it is spoken. They presuppose the existence of a model of ‘correct’ or ‘proper’ English and may support a particular variety that they regard as superior to any others. Huddleston and Pullum (2007) assert that there is “…a long tradition of prescriptive works that are deeply flawed: they simply don’t represent things correctly or coherently, and some of their advice is bad advice.” (p4) As an example, they present a fairly typical prescriptive rule that requires the speaker to use nominative forms I and they instead of the accusative me and them in common expressions such as it’s me or was it them? Such a rule cannot account for expressions that are commonly used and accepted by all speakers. Indeed, as Huddleston and Pullum point out, the “correct version” often meets with “gentle ridicule” (p5). The prescriptive grammarian ...
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