Re: Gender in language

Damien R. Sullivan (
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 20:17:46 -0800 (PST)

On Mar 24, 4:29pm, "Kathryn Aegis" wrote:
> Kick Graybull:

> textbooks were making up facts. Up until partway through 16c English
> relied upon Germanic grammatical structures until a few
> cultural heavyweights on the British islands decided that enlightened
> and civilized humans spoke Latin, and therefore set up new
> grammatical rules for English that relied upon Latin grammatical

I don't think heavyweights can change grammar like that. More importantly,
English grammar doesn't resemble Latin very much. German probably resembles
Latin more. What I've read is that our grammar resembles that of the
Scandinavian languages more than anything else, a result of living with the
Danes for a few centuries; apparently the Scandinavian tongues split off from
Germanic in grammar, although I don't know whether English adoped Scand.
grammar or whether the current system is a bastard of Old English and Old

English has often been _taught_ based on the Latin model, which may be where
the 'heavyweights' come in, and which probably gave grammar a bad name in
English, precisely because it didn't apply. Latin is heavily inflected with a
pretty flexible word order; English has minimal inflections and much more
brittle order, because that's what determines the meaning.

If grammar is significantly different from syntax I've probably just totally
embarassed myself.

-xx- GOU Learning From Others' Mistakes X-)

"> Milton? As in Milton Keynes?
John Milton. Economist. Author of "Paradise Lost", epic poem about
deflation." -- Jo Walton