#1684. 規範文法と記述文法[prescriptive_grammar][hel][historiography]


 標題は「#747. 記述規範」 ([2011-05-14-1]) でも取り上げた話題だが,きわめて重要な区別なので改めて話題にしたい.規範文法 (prescriptive grammar) と記述文法 (descriptive grammar) は,Crystal (230--31) によれば,次のように説明される.

A prescriptive grammar is essentially a manual that focuses on constructions where usage is divided, and lays down rules governing the socially correct use of language. These grammars were a formative influence on language attitudes in Europe and America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their influence lives on in the handbooks of usage widely found today, such as A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926) by Henry Watson Fowler (1858--1933), though such books include recommendations about the use of pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary, as well as grammar.

A descriptive grammar describes the form, meaning, and use of grammatical units and constructions in a language, without making any evaluative judgements about their standing in society. These grammars became commonplace in 20th-century linguistics, where it was standard practice to investigate a corpus of spoken or written material, and to describe in detail the patterns it contains.


When a descriptive grammar acts as a reference guide to all patterns of usage in a language, it is often called a reference grammar. An example is A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985) by Randolph Quirk (1920--) and his associates. Such grammars are not primarily pedagogical in intent, as their aim --- like that of a 'reference lexicon', or unabridged dictionary --- is to be as comprehensive as possible. They provide a sourcebook of data from which writers of pedagogical grammars can draw their material.


 ・ Crystal, David. How Language Works. London: Penguin, 2005.

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