How English became English – and not Latin

English grammar has been closely bound up with that of Latin since the 16th century, when English first began to be taught in schools. Given that grammatical instruction prior to this had focused on
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English grammar has been closely bound up with that of Latin since the 16th century, when English first began to be taught in schools. Given that grammatical instruction prior to this had focused on Latin, it’s not surprising that teachers based their grammars of English on that of Latin. The title of John Hewes’ work of 1624 neatly encapsulates its desire to make English grammar conform to that of Latin: A Perfect Survey of The English Tongve, Taken According to the Vse and Analogie of the Latine. Since English is not derived from Latin, and has a very different grammatical structure, this is not a helpful model. Despite this, eighteenth century grammarians persisted in imposing the Latinate structure on English, as shown in this treatment of the English noun declension by Wells Egelsham in A Short Sketch of English Grammar (1780): Image provided by author. Where Latin nouns have different endings for these various cases, English makes no distinction between the nominative,. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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