Home Page Button Syllabus / Policies Button Composition Button Grammar Button Rhetoric Button Rhetoric Button Literature button poetry button classical button medieval button Renaissance Button Vocabulary Button



328 Study Questions: Baugh Chapter Nine: "The Appeal to Authority"

Vocabulary: Restoration, Augustan Age, Enlightenment, prescriptivist grammar, descriptivist grammar, ascertainment, clip, vogue words, lexicon, dictionary

Identifications: Accademia della Crusca, the French Academy

9.186 What effect did the Royal Society in the 1660s have on the style of English Prose?

9.187 What was the attitude toward "correctness" in the Enlightenment?

How did the Restoration and the Puritan Interregnum possibly contribute to the English Enlightenment's desire for stability, order, and rules of consensus?

9.188 What did Enlightenment thinkers discover (to their horror!) when they turned their attention to English grammar?

9.189 When it came to "ascertainment," what three desires did Enlightenment grammarians have for the English language?

9.190 When (generally) did most Enlightenment thinkers think that an age occurred or would occur in which the spoken language that represented the highest perfection of English?

What was Swift's attitude to linguistic clips?

We often hear modern teachers and speakers make fun of people who use monosyllabic words--assuming that polysyllabic word are somehow superior. Where does this attitude come from? (i.e., what Enlightenment writer first protested that English has too many monosyllabic words?)

What was Swift's attitude to "vogue words"?

What does Swift argue (perhaps facetiously) that editors like Richard Steele at The Tatler should do to remedy problems with language?

9.191 What do Swift and other Enlightenment grammarians mean when they say they want to "fix" English? [Hint: they do not mean "repair" it.]

What have many writers feared would happen to their works in future years when readers sat down to read them, and how does this connect with the desire to "fix" English?

What mistaken idea did Enlightenment thinkers have about Greek that made them believe it was possible to fix English in a permanent manner?

9.192 What institutions did the English Enlightenment thinkers see in Italy and France that gave them a linguistic inferiority complex?

[Lecture question: How does the total vocabulary of Italian and French compare with the total vocabulary of words found in English? Does this bit of trivia possibly explain why the Italian and French dictionaries were finished so much faster than the English ones? Or alternatively, does the establishment of standard dictionaries end up artificially pruning potential developments in vocabulary?]

9.193-94 Every time that English government seemed to be moving toward the establishment of a National English Academy, what happened?

9.195 Why were people growing increasingly skeptical about the French Academy as an arbiter in language? (i.e., what had the French Academy manifestly failed to do?--two possible answers)

What did Dr. Johnson admit in the Preface to his Dictionary about his earlier desires to fix English?

9.196 What was Thomas Cooke's proposals for perfecting irregular or strong verbs? What was his proposal for forming the plural of all nouns?

9.197 What 1755 publication was hailed as a great step or achievement in standardizing English? Who wrote it?

How large was the author's research staff for this project? (trick question!)

How many years did it take for the author to finish it?

9.198 When early grammarians wanted to make grammar guides for English, what language's grammar did they often use as a model and adapt its grammatical terminology? What did John Wallis realize about this strategy early on?

One of the "authorities" on English grammar and usage in the 1770s was Robert Baker. What were his qualifications or credentials that made him suitable for this task?

9.199 Among the grammarians of the prescriptivist tradition, what were their three goals in the 18th century?

If an 18th century grammarian came across two different usages or constructions, what did he normally assume about one or the other of the two as a self-evident fact?

9.200 When was the modern distinction or rule about lie and lay first made?

What rule did the 18th century grammarians come up with for "incomparables" suc as "round," "perfect," "straight," etc.?

When it came to troubling grammatical questions such as the proper case after than and as, what was Lowth's rule? Has this rule become standard or not?

Who killed the "double negative" as a standard use in English--even though it had been happily used for centuries previously? Lecture Question: From what field of study did this grammarian adopt this new-fangled rule?

What rule did Wallis create out of thin air to govern the use of shall and will? (Previous to 1622 no English grammar recognized any distinction between these words.)

[Lecture Question: What was the difference between shall and will in their original Old English forms?]

9.201 What three considerations did grammarians take into account when they had to settle a conflict regarding proper usage?

Explain how the process of linguistic analogy became especially frustrating for those grammarians who wanted the English language to be consistent in logic, but how it was especially useful for those grammarians who wanted language to be consistent with actual usage and etymological tradition.

9.202 What is the doctrine of usage? When did this doctrine begin to appear (last half of what century?)

What was Joseph Priestley's attitude toward the doctrine of usage?

Rather than establish rules for using language, what is the "grammarian's only business" according to George Campbell?

9.203, According to Baugh, even if the grounds for various eighteenth-century rules or decisions about grammar are arbitrary, what must we admit about those rules or decisions today?

9.204 What does Baugh see as the greatest weakness of the early grammarians? At the root of the weakness, according to Baugh, lies an ignorance about the process of what?

9.205 Frequently, many eighteenth-century prescriptivists tried to ban words because (a) they thought the word was too new-fangled, (b) they thought the word was too old-fashioned, (c) they thought the word was composed of redunancies or pleonastic constructions, (e) all of the above.

Baugh suggests misguided efforts to "ban" certain words reveal or show the futility of what?

9.206 Daniel Defoe and some other purists of English objected to borrowing words from what? [Food for thought: why does this seem ironic, given what we know today about the origins of 40% of the words used in English today?]

Provide one example of a French loanword adopted into English usage after 1660 or so.

9.207 What political or regional expansions of British rule carried the English tongue to an area over 1/4 of the earth's geographic land area?

9.208 The most obvious effects of England's expansion as an empire, aside from local variation and an enlarged sphere of active use, is what?

Provide any two examples of loanwords taken from Amerindian tribes, the West Indies, Peruvian Incan, India, or Persia.

9.209 What are the "emphatic forms" of verbs? What helping verb do emphatic forms use to assist the main verb?

What is a progressive verb form?

What suffix is added to the end of a verb to indicate the progressive?

9.210 What is unusual about the Old English progressive passive? [Trick question!]

If you heard someone say, "Dinner is a-cooking" or you heard "there's a new barn a-building next door," what unusual verb form have you encountered?

How did the progressive passive develop?

The more common modern expression involves the word being as a helping verb: "The house is being built" or "Dinner is being cooked." This expression was first noted in 1769. According to Baugh, what does this illustrate about English grammar?









To Home Page
Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2016. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated August 15th, 2016. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.