Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Prose and Konns of Grammar (i)

I will try not to make any grammatical mistakes in this post, but these days my fingers rather do what they want!
I have mixed feelings about the current focus on the reintroduction of intensive grammar into the curriculum.
First, as a former teacher of English, I am conscious of the fact that much of what is said is true about kids not having a clue about grammar. This may not matter much, as long as the common or plain meaning is clear.
I became quite obsessive about the apostrophe, but I think now (if signwriting is anything to go by) that is a lost cause. The rule now seems to be .... if in doubt put an apostrophe in just in case!
What about things like this quickly gleaned from the web:
Ladie's Restroom; Christian's Love Sarah Palin;Your invited; You're car; Your fat!...well its/it's a never ending list. Sometimes meaning is ambiguous but not usually life threateningly so.
Second,I know ( and was talking about this to someone of the same age the other day) at least half of our English time in First and Second Year Grammar School (year 7,8,9) was spent 'parsing' sentences. We used to rule up columns like the modern day spreadsheets and parse "The cat sat on the mat"
Subject: The Cat, verb: sat (past tense) Predicate: on the mat
This could be more complex the predicate could be understood to be in the accusative case, there was a preposition 'on' which governed the accusative...
The point of my conversation of days ago was that never....and I mean NEVER...since I was 14 have I had cause to parse a sentence.
Even those people who never really got parsing, apparently manage to communicate quite well.
Third, though, my principle reservation is about the teaching of LOTE (Languages other than English).
How on earth do you begin to teach a language if you can't have a super-structure?
I shall blog on this later.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my school time, we also parsed from Grade 4 onwards, which made me very able to cope with Latin particularly and French