Presentation on theme: "Standardization of the English Language 1600-1800 A few aspects."— Presentation transcript:
Standardization of the English Language A few aspects
The English Grammatical Tradition Grammars published from 1586 to 1800 (including grammatical treatises in dictionaries, encyclopaedias, educational manuals etc.) before There is a marked increase in the publication of ‚grammars‘ after 1750, though the numbers need qualifications with regard to the type of grammar ( a short abstract, a detailed de- scription etc.), and the book in which a grammar is published (a grammar book, a sports manual, a secretary‘s guide etc.)
Grammars by decades
Grammars by decades: :52total The Merchant Maiden Hospital Magazine1779 Clarke, The Rational Spelling Book1772? [...] Barlow, A Complete English Dictionary1772? Adam, The Principles of Latin & English Gramar1772 A new and improved spelling dictionary1771 R. Jones, The Circles of Gomer1771 Encyclopedia Britannica1771 Du Bois, The Lady‘s Polite Secretary1771 Cooke, The Universal Letter-Writer1771? Bayly, The English Accidence1771 The Art of Teaching in Sport1770? The random list shows you the type of grammar published; they ranged from encyclopedia entries via short treatisesin a hospital magazine to fully fledged grammatical descriptions. Out of a total of 52 publications in this decade, 28 only were grammars properly speaking
Grammars by decades: :61Total Hewlett, An Introduction to Reading & Spelling (4th ed.)1798 Stapleton, The Road to Knowledge1797 [...] Encyclopedia Britannica1797 [...] Lynch, The Pentaglot Preceptor1796 Wright, Miscellany1795? Rudiments of Constructive Etymology1795 Cook, The Westminster Spelling Book1793 [...] Dearle, A Sure Guide for all Youth1792 Trusler, An English Accidence1790? Fordyce, The New & Complete British Letter-Writer1790? The New & Complete Universal Letter-Writer1790? The random list shows you the type of grammar published; they ranged from encyclopedia entries via short treatisesin a hospital magazine to fully fledged grammatical descriptions. Out of a total of 61 publications in this decade, 14 only were grammars properly speaking
Grammars by places: Newcastle4 Edinburgh Dumfries (1779) Darlington York (1777) Hereford (1777) Sherborne Chichester Norwich Ipswitch Manchester (1777), then London London16 The list shows you the distribution of published grammars by place of publication; publishing is clearly London centered
Grammars by places: Walsall Sunderland Stoke Stockton/Tees Stockport Sheffield Norwich Newington/Middlesex Marlborough Mansfield Ipswitch Great YarmouthWarrington York5 Dublin Congleton Cirencester Bury St Edmunds Bristol Brentford Bath Birmingham2 Newcastle3 Edinburgh4 London14 The list shows the development in the distribution of grammar publication; publishing is no longer London based. This indicates a wider interest in grammar, all over the country.
Standardization is the process of the selection of a prestigious variety the codification of grammatical rules and the lexicon in grammars and dictionaries the elaboration of the norm (by spread into all communicative domains) the acceptance of the prestige variety by all (at least in formal situations) The English Standard is of regional origin (area around London, 1420 Chancery English, c.1600 considered to be prestigious, by educated speakers) codified by writing grammars and compiling dictionaries (1600 – 1800)
English Standard codified in DictionariesGrammars whom ?? + described by accepted by taught to imposed on non-standard use criticized by
Codifying the English Language Some basic terms and concepts related to codification
Codification A systematic account of a language, especially of its grammar and vocabulary. This task is often undertaken when a language is being written down for the first time, but it can also happen when a language is developing a standard form, or after a period of considerable creativity and change (as in the case of the English grammars and dictionaries of the 18th century). The task is often delegated to an academy or special body, but in many instances it is carried out by individuals (as with Dr Johnson's dictionary). academy; English; standard. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] connected with development of standard varietystandard connected with planned endeavours of institution(s), such as academies, or individualsacademies example Royal Society (John Evelyn) Codification often accompanied by attitude of prescriptivism
Prescriptivism The view that one variety of language has an inherently higher value than others, and that this ought to be imposed on the whole of the speech community. It is an authoritarian view, propounded especially in relation to usage in grammar and vocabulary, and often with reference to pronunciation. The favoured variety is usually a version of the standard written language, especially as encountered in literature, or in the formal spoken language which most closely reflects literary style. Those who speak or write in this variety are said to be using language 'correctly'; those who do not are said to be using it 'incorrectly'. An example of a prescripte rule in English is the recommendation to use whom, and not who, in such sentences as – did you speak to?. Some authors distinguish rules of this kind, which recommend usages that are acceptable, from proscriptive rules, which identify usages that should be avoided (such as 'Never end a sentence with a preposition'). Linguists avoid both prescriptive and proscriptive attitudes, concentrating instead on the task of description and explanation. appropriateness; correctness; description; grammar 1; Latinate; normative; purism; solecism. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] connected with notion of correctness connected with normatives example Royal Society (John Evelyn)Royal Society
Correctness An absolute standard of language use deriving from the rules of institutions (such as language academies) or respected publications (grammars, dictionaries, manuals of pronunciation and style). When applied to aspects of language where there is no usage variation among educated users, the notion is uncontroversial: the spelling form *langauge is incorrect, as is the word order *Hardly he had left. The notion becomes controversial only when it is sued to condemn usages which are common within the whole or part of the speech community, such as the sue of the split infinitive (to really know) or regional dialect forms (It do no harm). appropriateness; normative; prescriptivism. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] connected with standard connected with academy example Swift, Letter Bickerstaff (c.1710)
Purism A school of thought which sees a language as needing preservation from the external process that might infiltrate it and thus make it change. Purist attitudes are a normal accompaniment to the perception, which each generation represents, that standards of language (as social standards generally) are deteriorating. Purists are concervative in matters of usage, emphasize the importance of prescriptive rules in grammar and pronunciation, and insist on the authority of dictionaries, grammars, and other manuals. academy; language change; linking; prescriptivism. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] connected with standard connected with academy example Swift, Letter Bickerstaff (c.1710)
Language planning A deliberate, systematic, and theory-based attempt to solve the communication problems of a community by studying its various languages or dialects, and developing an official language policy concerning their selection and use; also sometimes called language engineering or language treatment. Corpus planning deals with the selection and codification of norms, as in the writing of grammars and the standardization of spelling. Status planning deals with the initial choice of language, including attitudes towards alternative languages and the political implications of various choices. ecolinguistics; sociolinguistics; standard. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] connected with standard connected with academy example Swift, Letter Bickerstaff (c.1710)
Normative Descriptive of a linguistic rule which is considered to set a socially approved standard of correctness (or 'norm') for language use. Examples from English include the recommendation to avoid a split infinitive, or to use whom (as opposed to who) in such contexts as The lady – I asked... A systematic collection of such rules constitutes a normative grammar. correctness; prescriptivism. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] connected with standard connected with academy example Swift, Letter Bickerstaff (c.1710)
Solecism A minor deviation from what is considered to be linguistically correct. English examples include splitting an infinitive (to boldly go) and ending a sentence with a preposition (the person I gave it to). pleonasm; prescriptivism. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] connected with standard connected with academy example Swift, Letter Bickerstaff (c.1710)
Standard A prestige variety of language used within a speech community, providing an institutionalized norm for such purposes as the media and language teaching. Linguistic forms or dialects that do not conform to this norm are often called substandard or (more usually, within linguistics) nonstandard. Standardization is the natural development of a standard language in a speech community, or an attempt by a community to impose one dialect as a standard. language planning; national language; standard English. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] example Sheridan (1762)
Academies In the context of language, an institution which tries to protect a language from what it considers to be undesirable influences, to maintain excellence in its use, and to define its rules through the writing of grammars, dictionaries, and other manuals. Academies date from the 16th century, the most influential being the French Academy. Spain, Sweden, Hungary, and several other countries have academies, but the concept has never attracted much enthusiasm in the main English-speaking nations (though there is a body with such a name in South Africa), largely on the grounds that any attempt to control the development of a language by putting it in the charge of a small number of people is futile. Academy Française; codification; prescriptivism; purism. [Crystal, Penguin Dictionary of Language, 2nd ed. s.v.] example Defoe (1697)Defoe
Defoe, Essays on Projects (1697) The Voice of this Society should be sufficient Authority for the Usage of Words, and sufficient also to expose the Innovations of other mens Fancies; they shou'd preside with a Sort of Judicature over the Learning of the Age, and have liberty to Correct and Censure the Exorbitance of Writers, especially of Translators. The Reputation of this Society wou'd be enough to make them the allow'd Judges of Stile and Language; and no Author wou'd have the Impudence to Coin without their Authority. Custom, which is now our best Authority for Words, wou'd always have its Original here, and not be allow'd without it. There shou'd be no more occasion to search for Derivations and Constructions, and 'twou'd be as Criminal then to Coin words, as Money....I believe nothing wou'd so soon explode the Practice, as the Publick Discouragement of it by such a Society, Where all our Customs and Habits both in Speech and Behaviour, shou'd receive an Authority. All the Disputes about Precedency of Wit, with the Manners, Customs, and Usages of the Theatre wou'd be decided here; Plays shou'd pass here before they were Acted, and the Criticks might give their Censures, and damn at their Pleasure; nothing wou'd ever dye which once receiv'd Life at this Original: The Two Theatres might end their Jangle, and dispute for Priority no more; Wit and Real Worth shou'd decide the Controversy, and here shou'd be the Infallible Judge. [pp , 250]
John Evelyn, Letter to Peter Wyche (c.1665) 1. I would therefore humbly propose that there might first be compil'd a Gram'ar for the Praecepts; which...might onely insist on the Rules, the sole meanes to render it a learned & learnable tongue. 2. That with this a more certaine Orthography were introduc'd, as by leaving out superflous letters, &c.: such as o in Woomen, People; u in Honour...&c. 3. That there might be invented some new Periods and Accents, besides such as our Gram'arians & Critics use, to assist, inspirit, and modifie the Pronunciation of Sentences To this might follow a Lexicon or Collection of all the pure English-Words by themselves; then those which are derivative...then, the symbolical; so as no innovation might be us'd or favour'd; at least till there should arise some necessity of providing a new Edition, & of amplifying the old upon mature advice... [There follow other considerations: 5. as to dictionaries of technical words; 6. as to better definitions in dictionaries; 7. as to exotic words used by the logodaedali; 8. as to the use of regional varieties; 9. as to a dictionary or Florilegium of the most quaint and courtly expressions; 10. as to obsolete words; 11. as to model translations from the classical or "even" the modern languages.] [ed. Moore pp ] [pp , 250]
Thomas Sheridan, Lectures on elocution (1762) As amongst these various dialects [in England], one must have the preference, and become fashionable, it will of course fall to the lot of that which prevails at court, the source of fashions of all kinds. All other dialects are sure marks, either of a provincial, rustic, pedantic, or mechanic education; and therefore have some degree of disgrace annexed to them. And as the court pronunciation is no where methodically taught, and can be acquired only by conversing with people in polite life, it is a sort of proof that a person has kept good company, and on that account is sought after by all, who wish to be considered as fashionable people, or members of the beau monde. [ed. Crowley 1991:68]
Jonathan Swift, Letter Bickerstaff (c.1710) SIR, I cou'd n't get the things you sent for all about Town --- I thôt to ha come down myself, and then I'd h' brot'um; but I ha'nt don't, and I believe I can't do't, that's Pozz --- Tom begins to gi'mself airs, because he's going with the Plenipo's --- 'Tis said the French King will bamboozl us agen, which causes many speculations. The Jacks and others of that Kidney are very uppish, and alert upon't, as you may see by their Phizz's --- Will Hazard has got the hipps, having lost to the Tune of five hundr'd pound, tho' he understands play very well, no Body better. He has promis't me upon rep, to leave off play; but you know 'tis a weakness he's too apt to give into, tho' he has as much wit as any man, no Body more. He has lain incog ever since --- The mob's very quiet with us now --- I believe you thôt I banter'd you in my last, like a country put --- I shan't leave town this month, etc. [thôt: thought; I'd h' brot'um: I would have brought them; ha'nt don't: have not done it; can't do't: cannot do it; Plenipo's: plenipotentiaries [envoys or ambassadors]; etc. etc.] These [says Swift in his fictitious letter] are the false refinements in our style which you [i.e. the editors of the Tatler] ought to correct; first, by argument and fair means, but if those fail, I think you are to make use of your authority as Censor, and by an annual Index Expurgatorius expunge all words and phrases that are offensive to good sense and condemn those barbarous mutilations of vowels and syllables. In this last point the usual pretence is that they spell as they speak: a noble standard for language [ibid.]!
John Dryden, Critical Essays (1693) We have yet no English prosodia, not so much as a tolerable dictionary, or a grammar; so that our language is in a manner barbarous; and what government will encourage any one, or more, who are capable of refining it, I know not: but nothing under a public expense can go through with it. And I rather fear a declination of the language, than hope an advancement of it in the present age. [ed. Moore, p. 114]
Prince of Wales (19th December 1989) Looking at the way English is used in our popular newspapers, our radio and television programmes, even in our schools and theatres, [a great many people] wonder what it is about our country and our society that our language has become so impoverished, so sloppy and so limited - that we have arrived at such a dismal wasteland of banality, cliché and casual obscenity...If English is spoken in Heaven (as the spread of English as a world language makes more likely each year) God undoubtedly employs Cranmer as his speechwriter. The angels of the lesser ministries probably use the language of the New English Bible and the Alternative Service Book for internal memos. ["Address of the Prince of Wales, 19th December 1989," ed. T. Crowley, Proper English? Readings in language, history and cultural identity, London 1991 p. 9]
Swift, Proposal (1712)...so that most of the Books we see now a-days, are full of those Manglings and Abbreviations. Instances of this Abuse are innumerable: What does your Lordship think of the Words, Drudg'd, Disturb'd, Rebuk't, Fledg'd, and a thousand others, every where to be met in Prose as well as Verse? Where, by leaving out a Vowel to save a Syllable, we form so jarring a Sound, and so difficult to utter, that I have often wondered how it could ever obtain. [p. 22]
Robert Lowth, English Grammar (1762) The principal design of a Grammar of any Language is to teach us to express ourselves with propriety in that Language; and to enable us to judge of every phrase and form of construction, whether it be right or not. The plain way of doing this is, to lay down rules, and to illustrate them by examples. But, beside shewing what is right, the matter may be further explained by pointing out what is wrong. [Introduction p. x]
Attitudes Statements about the language tend to include evaluations of the language (with one‘s own feeling about the language as a yardstick); they tend to debase the speakers who do not conform to one‘s own standards, and thus to make distinctions between ‚good‘ people and ‚bad‘
Motivations to regulate: 1. The writers Edmund Waller, Of English Verse, 1645 But who can hope his lines should long Last in a daily changing tongue? [...] Poets that lasting marble seek Must carve in Latin or in Greek: We write in sand, our language grows And like the tide, our work o‘erflows.
Statements about (ab)uses: Spelling Lord Chesterfield, Letter to his son, 19 November 1750 I come now to another part of your letter, which is the orthography, if I may call bad spelling orthography. You spell induce, enduce; and grandeur, you spell grandure; two faults, of which few of my house-maids would have been guilty. I must tell you, that orthography, in the true sense of the word, is so absolutely necessary for a man of letters, or a gentleman, that one false spelling may fix a ridicule upon him for the rest of his life; and I know a man of quality, who never recovered the ridicule of having spelled wholesome without the w.
Statements about (ab)uses: Pronunciation John Walker, Pronouncing Dictionary, 1791 Accent and Quantity, the great efficients of pronunciation, are seldom mistaken by people of education in the Capital [...] [T]hough the pronunciation of London is certainly erroneous in many words, yet, upon being compared with that of any other place, it is undoubtedly the best; that is, not only the best by courtesy, and because it happens to be the pronunciation of the capital, but the best by a better title – that of being more generally received. [...] [T]he great bulk of the nation, and those who form the most important part in it, are without these advantages [i.e. of living in London], and therefore want such a guide to direct them as is here offered [i.e. his pronouncing dictionary]. [...] [H]arsh as the sentence may seem, those at a considerable distance from the capital, do not only mispronounce many words taken separately, but they scarcely pronounce, with purity, a single word, syllable, or letter. [...] I would advise a native of Ireland, who has much of the accent, to pronounce almost all his words, and end all his sentences with the rising slide; and a Scotchman, in the same manner, to use the falling inflection; this will, in some measure, counteract the natural propensity, and bids fairer for bringing the pupil to that nearly equal mixture of both slides which distinguishes the English speaker, than endeavouring at first to catch the agreeable variety. [...] [T]he vulgar pronunciation of London, though not half so erroneous as that of Scotlöand, Ireland, or any of the provinces, is, to a person od correct taste, a thousand times more offensive and disgusting. [...]
Statements about (ab)uses: Pronunciation James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791 Besides, sir [says Johnson to Boswell], what entitles Sheridan to fix the pronunciation of English? He has, in the first place, the disadvantage of being an Irishman; and if he says he will fix it after the example of the best company, why, they differ among themselves. I remember an instance: when I published the plan for my Dictionary, Lord Chesterfield told me that the word great should be pronounced so as to rhyme with state; and Sir William Yonge sent me word that it should be pronounced so as to rhyme with seat, and that none but an Irishman would pronounce it grait. Now here were two men of the highest rank, the one the best speaker in the House of Lords, the other the best speaker in the House of Commons, differing entirely.
Statements about (ab)uses: Borrowing Joseph Addison, Spectator 1711 I have often wished that as in our Constitution there are several Persons whose Business it is to watch over our Laws, our Liberties and Commerce, certain Men might be set apart, as Superin- tendents of our Language to hinder any Words of a Foreign Coin from passing among us; and in particular to prohibit any French Phrases from becoming Current in this Kingdom when those of our own stamp are altogether as valuable.
Language and class (1) The Art of Speaking, 2nd ed The best expressions grow low and degenerate, when profan‘d by the populace, and applied to mean things. The use they make of them, infecting them with a mean and abject Idea, causes that we cannot use them without sullying and defiling those things, which are signified by them. But it is no hard matter to discern between the depraved language of common People, and the noble and refin‘d expressions of the Gentry, whose condition and merits have advanced them above the other. James Harris, Hermes, 1751 The VULGAR merged in sense from their earliest infance, and never once dreaming any thing to be worthy of pursuit, but what pampers their Appetite, or fills their Purse, imagine nothing to be real, but what may be tasted, or touched.
Language and class (2) Thomas Sheridan, Lectures on Elocution, 1762 Nay in the very metropolis two different modes of pronunciation prevail, by which the inhabitants of one part of the twon, are distinguihed from those of the other. One is current in the city, and is called the cockney; the other at the court end, and is called the polite pronunciation. As amongst these various dialects, one must have the preference, and become fashionable, it will of course fall to the lot of that which prevails at court, the source of fashions of all kinds. All other dialects are sure marks, either of a provinvial, rustic, pedantic, or mechanic education; and therefore have some degree of disgrace annexed to them. And as the court pronunciation is no where mthodically taught, and can be acquired only by conversing with people in polite life, it is a sort of proof that a person has kept good company, and on that account is sought after by all, who wish to be considered as fashionable people, or members of the beau monde.
Don't (c.1880) Don’t speak ungrammatically. Study books of grammar, and the writings of the best authors. Don’t pronounce incorrectly. Listen carefully to the conversation of cultivated people, and consult the dictionaries.... Don’t use slang. There is some slang that, according to Thackeray, is gentlemanly slang, and other slang that is vulgar. If one does not know the difference, let him avoid slang altogether, and then he will be safe. Don’t use profane language. Don’t multiply epithets and adjectives; don’t be too fond of superlatives. Moderate your transports.... Don’t say gents for gentlemen, nor pants for pantaloons. These are inexcusable vulgarisms. Don’t say vest for waistcoat... Don’t say posted for well informed. Don’t say balance for remainder. Don’t use trade terms except for trade purposes. [Don’t: a manual of mistakes & improprieties more or less prevalent in conduct and speech, The Vellum-Parchment Shilling Series of Miscellaneous Literature 9, New York and London c.1880, pp. 61, 62, 65, 66]
English Society Language history is social history; a basic knowledge about the structure of society as well as the historical and social developments in the 17th and 18th centuries is therefore necessary
English Society in the 18th century (1) Daniel Defoe, State of the Nritish Nation, The Great, who live profusely 2.The Rich, who live plentifully 3.The middle Sort, who live well 4.The working Trades, who labour hard but feel no want 5.The Country People, Farmers, etc. who fare indifferently 6.The Poor that fare hard 7.The Miserable, that really pinch and suffer wantCC
English Society in the 18th century (2) James Nelson (apothecary), Government of Children, London 1753 Every nation has its Custom of dividing the People into Classes [...] England, a mix‘d Government and a trading Nation, have the Nobility, Gentry, Mercantile or Commercial People, Mechanics, and Pesantry [...] Were we to divide the People, we might run it to an Infinity: to avoid Confusion therefore, I will select five Classes; viz. The Nobility, the Gentry, the genteel Trades (all those particularly which require large Capital), the common Trades, and the Peasantry [... The latter not only including the country „Rustics“ but also their urban counterparts, i.e.] the lowest Class of People, in London particularly. These People possess indeed the Ignorance of the Pesants, but they seldom equal them in Innocence.
English Society in the 18th century (3) Joseph Massie, Calculations, Noblemen or Gentlemen: landed income between £ 4,000 and 20,000 p.a. 2.Gentlemen: landed income between £ 200 and 2,000 p.a. 3.Freeholders: landed income between £ 50 and 100 p.a. 4.Farmers: expending between £ 40 and 150 p.a. 5.Tradesmen in London and Country: expending between £ 40 and 300 p.a. 6.Manufacturers in London and Country: earning between 7/6d and 12/- p.wk. 7.Labourers and Husbandmen in London and Country: earning between 5/- and 9/- p.wk.