The Cambridge grammar of the English language /. Rodney Huddleston, Geoffrey K. Pullum p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 0 The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, often abbreviated CGEL by its adherents, is a comprehensive reference book on English language grammar. Its primary authors are Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum. English Grammar. RODNEY HUDDLESTON. Ullil’ersity of Queensland. GEOFFREY K. PULLUM. Ulliversity ()f Caliji)mia, Santa Cru. “CAMBRIDGE.:>.
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Language too is an affair which, from one point of view, is always just in the flush and tremor of beginning while, from an other, quite as sharp-eyed a point of view, it continues to run down foreseeable grooves formed by accumulated habit.
His last sentence expresses a determination to learn from that uncertainty, a determination which governed his writing till he died. If that were so, then nobody could be “someone eminently worthy of being followed in matters of taste and literary style”, as they say on the same page, nor would there be any reason for appealing, as they sometimes do, to “the writings of highly prestigious authors” or “the usage of the best writers” they carefully refrain from naming these paragons.
It is not confused, it is superbly elliptical, even aeronautic. It can be a sign of respect to raise an objection rather than roll over permissively while re-describing usual practice in such a way as to make a new locution fine by readjusted norms. Such as what Ben Jonson meant when he wrote:.
They say of the sentence “In this day and age one must circle round and explore every avenue” that it “may be loaded with careworn verbiage, or it may even be arrant nonsense, but there is absolutely nothing grammatically wrong with it”. The sentence seems innocent enough in contrast to their own comment, which groans with inexactitude and redundancy: The Luxury to apprehend The Luxury ‘twould be To look at Thee a single time An Epicure of Me In whatsoever Presence makes Till for a further Food I scarcely recollect to starve So first am I supplied – This would be described as “confused” by today’s undergraduates, who take it for granted that “accessibility” is the first requirement of all writing and impute confusion to any writer who stretches them.
Huddleston and Pullum: Exercises
To those who have interests in language other than those of the linguist, “synchronic study” can at times seem like a polite name for parochialism. That is, does the poet report that formalities have this effect or does he wish for them to do so compare “Saints preserve us! Yet even the members of this excellent Cambridge team sometimes fail to confine themselves within the narrow bounds of testimony.
This massive work it weighs 2. As a punishment for my sins in a previous life, I recently had to mark 64 examination scripts in which third-year undergraduates reading English at Cambridge offered their comments on the opening of Dickens’s Bleak House: The pedantic carper is, however, right and on the verge of a discovery; there is something odd about that chorus, and its oddness is apt to the situation in which two, previously promiscuous homosexuals shakily embark together on a possibly monogamous future.
One in a million men change the way you feel one in a million men baby, it’s up to me. Yet a language like English is simultaneously virgin and long clapped-out, so old words for it are still good too. Hill’s line, though, is a revolving door between Englishes past and present, and intimates a history of moods, verbal and otherwise. The tense of that writing, like the tense of that last sentence “will have been”is best described with an old term: He was not asking Celia to restrict her drinking of healths to his alone but either calling her his “onely” or, more likely, saying that her eyes were the one intoxicant he needed, just as “leave a kisse but in the cup” means that a blown kiss, the mere aftermath of her lips, is all he wants on his.
Or consider some characteristic lines from one of the language’s most grammatically resourceful writers, Emily Dickinson:. All descriptive grammarians can determine is whether something is “established” or not; their “well” is illicit. These 1, pages are not short of terms which will be new to the non-specialist, and they bristle with a more-than-grammatical deliciousness: She holds an open book in her left hand, beneath which sits a “good boy”, notably round-shouldered, already vested in what is probably a monk’s habit, his fingers tracing the page he’s intently squinting at.
Carved on the west front of the cathedral at Chartres, Grammar, a stern dame, looms over two small pupils. Higher education English and creative writing Ben Jonson reviews.
Take the case of “only”. For the purposes of linguistics, sharp focus on current English is entirely legitimate, but there are things we may, and perhaps should, want to know about our language other than those synchronic description can reveal. It was wrong of prescriptive grammar to stigmatise clipped sequences like Dickens’s as “not proper sentences”, but such finger-wagging at least alerted its victims to real features of writing which escape the notice of those who have more recently been taught English.
He might have meant that the time-honoured conception of “humanity” was in ruins, or that there remained an abiding conception of “humanity in ruins”, kindness amid dereliction, or even that his experiences in France refreshed for him the old notion of “the Fall of Man”, a long-standing ruinousness of the human. Descriptive grammar can find nothing wrong with the inert officialese of, say, Radio 4, in which forthcoming speeches by government ministers are predictably “major” before they are uttered, and all majorities “vast”, and from which decent words like “many” are disappearing, their place taken by “an awful lot of”.
The candidates were excited, even over-excited, by the “imagery”, as they had been taught in school that “imagery” is what counts in literature. This would be described as “confused” by today’s undergraduates, who take it for granted that “accessibility” is the first requirement of all writing and impute confusion to any writer who stretches them.
The lavender of the subjunctive
One in a million men change the way you feel one in a million men baby, it’s up to me At first hearing, a traditionalist might want to change grammaf to “changes” – “one in a million men changes the way you feel” – though even Neil Tennant might have difficulty getting his mouth round that extra syllable while following the broad, expansive lines of the tune.
Because linguists busy themselves grajmar “actual usage” “synchronic” study of the language, in their termsthey are professionally bound to scant other, earlier usages; the “long-standing” must always give way to the “actual”. The usage of those who abide by exploded, traditional rules is usage still; maiden aunts who would rather expose themselves at evensong than ask for “a large quantity of stamps” should be equal in the pullum of historical description with those who don’t even remember that “agenda” was once a plural and feel they need an s for the agendas they progress through.
This is another of those well-known prescriptive rules that are massively huddlestoh variance with actual usage. When Beckett gave his only broadcast talk, about his experiences of the Irish Red Cross Hospital in Normandy where he served as interpreter and store-keeper from August to Januaryhe ended by entertaining.
But they fail to specify when a “proportion” becomes “significant” – does it take a bare majority or will a stroppy minority equally suffice? Fretful sub-editors who want to know the better way cambgidge “which” and “that” must apply elsewhere.
To delineate the experience of living with and through a language a task beneath or beyond the ambitions of systematic grammarwe need fresh-minted terms and brilliant redescriptions such as the Cambridge Grammar supplies in its strong arguments for the claim that “English has no future tense”, soon to be reported in the Daily Mail, no doubt, as “dons say english has no future”.