328 Study Questions: Baugh Chapter Nine: "The
Appeal to Authority"
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
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"
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?
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
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
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
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
Rather than establish rules for using language, what is
the "grammarian's only business" according to
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
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
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
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
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?