PART TWO Number TWO
II .E A “bref historie” of English GRAMMAR and “grammar”
II.75 Since “English grammar” has had an epochal history, and since many of its issues and problems are more of historical nature than seems widely understood, I shall pass a brief retrospect under the suitably archaic title. We don’t know how long “English” of any kind has been in use, because in early years it was almost exclusively spoken. English seems to have evolved (saving your reverence) like a “pidgin” (Robert McNeill’s term in the BBC’s Story of English). Its basis was a merger of two similar varieties of “Low German” (i.e., spoken in the “low” northern plains of present-day “Germany”) imported by invaders in the 5th century -- the Angles (whose name stuck in “Eng-land”) and the Saxons (whose name today figures in historical discourse) -- adventurously mixed with the indigenous Celtic, plus the Latin, Norse (or Norwegian), Danish, and Norman French of further invaders. Since long-distance communication was sporadic and weak, the mixing yielded a menagerie of varieties -- e.g., east versus west, and north versus south, plus the outlying islands -- partly still audible today.
II.76 As an alternative to the German-flavoured term Anglo-Saxon, scholars have settled upon Old English, which began to leave dim records somewhere around 600 A.D. (The cited dates for the stages of English are all in dispute, because surviving evidence is sparse or cryptic, and the shifts were ragged and gradual.) To name the varieties, some settled regions were chosen: “Northumbrian” and “Mercian” in the north, plus “Kentish” and “West Saxon” in the south. The last of these four, the idiom of the wise and scholarly King Alfred, left a substantial “literature” and may well rank as the main base for the “Old English” that was poised to become a national language.
They wrote in a picturesque alphabet known to us as “futhark”, which you will see in III.1, and which was displaced by a version of the “Roman” despite the ungainly fit.
II.77 Purely for illustration, here’s a famous sample , displayed in a “Romanised” alphabet, from an epic poem composed perhaps in the 7th or 8th century by an unknown poet [Note 26] about the combat between the illustrious warrior Beowulf and a monster or dragon.
I provide first a piece-by-piece translation between the lines to suggest at least occasional similarities with modern English, and then an idiomatic translation.
[77a] “Hatred was aroused, the warder of the [treasure] hoard recognised the man’s speech. There was no time to sue for peace. First came forth the breath of monster out of the stone cave and hot sweat of battle; the earth resounded.”
The text looks strange to us today for potent reasons. (Never mind how you “sue for peace” with a mega-lizard snorting smoke and fire into your face.) The vowels have since been radically shifted, whence the swarm of oddities in the spelling of “Modern English” pointed out in Part III. Besides, much Old English vocabulary was later replaced by items borrowed mainly from French, Latin, and Greek (cf. II.109). And back then, the GRAMMAR could rely more on the forms of words and less on their positions than does Modern English.
II.78 This period in history also beheld the first surviving work in England on “grammar”, inscribed by an abbot fittingly known to us as “Ælfric the Grammarian” (lived about 955-1020 A.D.) He already personified a forefather of generations of language guardians (in the sense of II.42) when putting a self-seeking request for his work into the mouths of “ignorant” children:
 “We children beg thee, oh teacher, to teach us to speak because we are ignorant and speak incorrectly.” “What do you want to say?” “What do we care what we say, provided it is correct speech and not foolish or bad?”
Alfie’s “grammar” was itself bilingual (Old English – Latin), but was composed only for teaching Latin to “tender boys” (“pueris teneris”) as opposed, perhaps, to futhark hooligans (cf. II.98), and largely adapted from the work of ancient grammarians like Donatus (4th century) and Priscian (5th century).
Expropriating from predecessors has remained a hallmark of “traditional grammar” to this very day and sheds an uncanny light on the very term and on the resistance to change.
II.79 After about 1150, Middle English was firmly established. It resembled Modern English far more closely, and was fortunate to find its master user in Geoffrey Chaucer.
Now I can do without a piece-by-piece translation in , and my idiomatic translation in [79a] looks fairly similar to the original. As you see, the forms of words have been simplified, and their positions are not so radically different from Modern English.
 Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmers for to seeke strange strands,
To ferne hallows couth in sundry lands;
And specially, from every shire’s end
Of Engleland, to Canterbury they wend,
The holy blissful Martyr for to seek,
That them hath holpen, when that they were sick. (Canterbury Tales, 1386)
[79a] Then folk long to go on pilgrimages,
And pilgrims for to seek strange shores,
To distant holy places known in sundry lands;
And specially, from every shire’s end
Of England, to Canterbury they wend,
The holy blissful Martyr [St Thomas a Becket] for to seek,
That has helped them when they were sick.
By the 14th century, English was ascending the status of a national language, dominantly used in Parliament and the law courts, though I find no indicators that it was deemed a worthy subject-matter for “grammars”.
II.80 From the 14th or 15th century onward, we find ample documentation of Early Modern English. Most of it is not unduly hard to read. e.g. , and some contemporaries were already trying to improve on it .
 They sell their malte to ale wyffs [wives] at their own price, and causeth all the towne to be ale-typlers [tipplers] (Richard Layton, 1537)
 I, William Caxton, a simple personne, have […] sommewhat chaunged the rude and old Englisshe that is, to wete [to wit], certain words which in these days be neither usyd ne [nor] understanden. (1475)
Having himself introduced the printing press to England, Caxton had commercial as well as scholarly motives for reforming “old Englisshe”.
He did not get the “rudeness” out -- I doubt anybody could -- though HRH Prince Charles seems to think it has resulted from a recent “decline” (II.102).
II.81 Even whilst losing ground to English as a language of power in England for affairs of state and law, Latin retained a curious grip on language education as long as “grammar” meant “Latin grammar”, which Bishop William Wykeham, in the charter of his College at Winchester (1378), declared “the foundation, gate, and source of all the other liberal arts”. (Stockport Grammar School).BNC
II.82 In line with my opening “premise” in § II.1, this high esteem for Latin should have its three sides too. On the linguistic side, famous “classical works” in Latin and Greek have been judged the very models of refined and elegant usage, notably in the oratory and poetry already esteemed among ancient authorities like Aristotle and Demetrius. No doubt English seemed to some more “elegant” when “translated”:
 The standard of learning attained was high, as was illustrated when the pupils [...] translated many English sentences into elegant Latin with great dexterity. (Ayrshire Heritage)
However, such refinement could profit from the orderly GRAMMARS of Latin and Greek, where the distinctive forms of words enabled elegant variations in the order of words.
II.83 On the cognitive side, the “classical works” convened an imposing treasury of knowledge: culture, philosophy, history, myth, natural science, astronomy, mathematics plus geometry, and so on. Long after English had become the respected national language, some works on such subjects were still written in Latin, partly to garner prestige, and partly to attract an international readership. Even in recent times, the study of the “classical languages” has been thought to cultivate high mental faculties:
 Arts graduates who have risen through the ranks of the meritocracy […] stress the inherent educational value of such subjects as classical languages (Greek and Latin) [to] encourage the development of sensitivity, subtle and flexible reasoning, intellectual ingenuity… (Study for Survival)BNC
On the social side, “knowledge of Latin” has been held essential to the “training of a gentleman”:
 At Oxford and at Cambridge, the new science degrees (like those in modern languages and history) led to a BA, and knowledge of Latin and Greek was essential for would-be students of chemistry or physics. This was because a degree was part of the training of a gentleman (The Age of Science)
II.84 However, in all my collection of English discourse from Shakespeare to the present, I find not a single mention of “gentlemen” actually speaking or conversing in Latin among themselves. All I found were “Barbarians” (!) , and Dr Samuel Johnson, who at times hardly cared if he seemed a “gentleman” or indeed if he was understood .
 The Barbarians were ambitious of conversing in Latin, the military idiom of the Eastern empire (Decline and Fall)
 While Johnson was in France, he was generally very resolute in speaking Latin. […] To a Frenchman of great distinction, he would not deign to speak French, but talked Latin, though his Excellency, a distinguished member of the Royal Academy, did not understand it, owing, perhaps, to Johnson’s English pronunciation (James Boswell)
(My sandonic transciption follows H. P. Lovecraft, who reported that Dr Johnson was saying "Vir est acerrimi Ingenii et paucarum literarum"). Too bad loyal Boswell didn’t tell us how Dr J fared speaking Latin to French innkeepers and ale-wives. But then Boswell probably handled all that.
II.85 The most visible and durable heritage of this long tradition has been the widespread adoption and retention of Latin-based terms (like “subjunctive”) in compiling “grammars” of English.[Note 27] Some early grammarians straightfacedly justified this recourse on the grounds that the English language had no proper GRAMMAR of its own.
II.86 The triumph of English as the language of the nation was probably aided by several factors. After the laceration during the “War of the Roses”, the House of Tudor, under the able administrator Henry VII, founder of the Privy Council and the Star Chamber, re-established England as a formidable powerhouse of rapid expansion and discovery in government, technology, commerce, and exploration.
The so-called “English Renaissance” vigorousy absorbed the Renaissance on the continent of Europe, stirring new interest in literature and culture, and translating into English a flood of works from ancient and modern languages. And the printing press, introduced by that not-so “simple personne” William Caxton (§ II.80), greatly expanded access to written English. However, these same factors also helped to intermingle English with foreign languages via translation and creation of new lexical items.
II.87 The triumph of English also animated a colourful gallery of presumptive authorities to expound its “grammar”, often closely linked up with orthography: a novelist (Daniel Defoe), a mathematician (John Wallis), an essayist (Joseph Addison), a Hebrew professor turned Bishop (Robert Lowth), a chemist (Joseph Priestley), a war profiteer (Lindley Murray), a lexicographer (Noah Webster), a dean of Canterbury (Henry Alford), a Shakespeare editor (Richard Grant White), a teacher of Sanskrit (Fitzedward Hall), a newspaper editor (William Cullen Bryant), and of course a brace of schoolmasters (such as Robert Cawdre, Elisha Coles, and Richard Mulcaster).
II.88 The earliest publication I know of was William Bullokar’s Booke at large, for the Amendment of Orthographie for English speech (1580), which also contained “the first grammar for Englishe that ever waz”, for “easie, speedie, and perfect use of our own language” and hence “no small commoditie of the English Nation”, which he edified with the homey homily, “when truth trieth, error flieth”. At any rate, it was too “large” and he conceded as much when he published his Bref grammar for English (1586). The timing was opportune: England was blossoming as the language of government, scholarship, and literature among a vivacious circle around Queen Elizabeth I. “Rare” Ben Jonson’s English Grammar followed in 1640, and John Wallis’s Grammatica Linguae Anglicanae in 1653 -- this last written in Latin, no less, but about English for foreigners, and sensibly questioning the validity of Latin grammar as a model for English.
It was Wallis who enforced the slippery “rule” dividing “shall” (FIRST PERSON) from “will” (SECOND and THIRD PERSONS) for the FUTURE TENSE and just the reverse for expressing a determination; this meddling had no basis in general usage, where “shall” could signal determination and “will” either wish or simple FUTURE:
 Tell them there thy fixed foot shall grow till thou have audience. (Twelfth Night)
 If you will be married to-morrow, you shall; and to Rosalind, if you will. (As You Like It)
 That quaffing and drinking will undo you (Twelfth Night)
Yet, like many others, this “rule” has survived from one grammar-book to another even into my own school days.
II.89 During the span of Later Modern English, dating perhaps from the Elizabethan era, an English Academy was repeatedly advocated to monitor and manage the language, by powerful authorities like John Dryden (who banned prepositions at the end a sentence because Latin disallows them), John Evelyn, Daniel Defoe, and Jonathan Swift (who nearly succeeded).
Beyond the Atlantic, an American Academy was proposed for the same purpose, by President John Adams for one.
II.90 No doubt the primary model was the redoubtable Académie Française, which has been the inspiration for language academies ever since its founding in 1635. Its declared mission was “working with all possible care and diligence to give certified rules to our language and to render it pure, eloquent, and capable of treating the arts and sciences” (Article XXIV, my translation). Its dictionary was first published after 59 years in 1694, and now in 2006 is emerging in a massive ninth edition. It also published its “grammar” after a mere 298 years in 1932 and never again; nor, curiously, can I discover any mention of it on the Académie’s current website, (www.academie-francaise.fr), which waxes eloquent about the dictionary.
II.91 According to that same website, its 40 members are dubbed “immortals” and denominated as
 poets, novelists, men of the theatre, philosophers, doctors of medicine, men of science, ethnologists, art critics, men of the military the state, the church (my translation)
I see here no grammarians or lexicographers, though Émile Littré, whose dictionary remains a classic, is among the, erm, dead immortals.
The wording as quoted is not entirely felicitous: alongside 35 “men”, 5 women sit (sedately, one imagines).
II.92 Across the Channel, the essay Of Academies (1697) by Mr Defoe, of Robinson Crusoe fame, envisioned a Society of “allow’d Judges of Stile and Language”, whose powers would be
 to polish and refine the English Tongue, and advance the so much neglected Faculty of Correct Language, to establish Purity and Propriety of Stile, and to purge it from all the Irregular Additions that Ignorance and Affectation have introduc’d.
The moralising tone was more intrusive yet in Jonathan Swift’s immodest Proposal for Correcting, Improving, and Ascertaining the English Tongue (1712):
 I am apt to doubt whether the Corruptions in our Language have not at least equalled the Refinements of it; and these Corruptions very few of the best Authors in our Age have wholly escaped [due to] the Licentiousness which entered with the Restoration [i.e., of Charles II in 1660].
Swift’s aspirations to “fix” English” unmasked him confusing change with corruption, as do many language guardians:
 what I have most at heart, is that some method should be thought on for ascertaining and fixing our Language for ever, after such Alterations are made in it as shall be thought requisite. (his italics)
II.93 Subconsciously, Dean Swift and like-minded “language-fixers” may have hoped to smooth away historical memories of English as the idiom of invaders, serfs, and pirates (in that order); or they may have just wanted to hold English steady enough that their own works would be readable “for ever”. Consciously, at any rate, they were voicing the aspirations of British 18th century, when the “Age of Enlightenment” was rife with projects for the perfection of humanity (cf. III.13).
II.94 In the meantime, English had passed from a nation language to an empire language, as far-flung regions “joined the British Empire” at gunpoint (or cannon-point), and, by the time they escaped, much wearier, sadder, and poorer, were using firmly entrenched varieties of English (cf. I.8). “Independence” often meant passage into the “British commonwealth” -- a truly Orwellian title for the concentration of “wealth” in Britain. In parallel, power passed from the “colonial masters” to an indigenous English-speaking elite, who have revelled in sending their children to Britain to attend school (and to buy a car and electric appliances), or at least to local schools with a British teaching staff. They have naturally esteemed “good (i.e. British) English” and “correct grammar” patently distinct from the local varieties inherited from colonialism.
II.95 As an empire language, that same English formerly disdained for official or scholarly discourse was now declared the very language of greatness. The 19th-century organisers of the national dictionary mentioned in II.43 (eventually the OED) vowed to record “the race of English words which is to form the dominant speech of the world”. Thomas Babington Macaulay, once appointed to the Supreme Council of India, went over the top and then some in his “Minute on English Education”:
 English stands pre-eminent even among the languages of the West. […] Whoever knows that language has a ready access to all the vast intellectual wealth which all the wisest nations of the earth have hoarded in the course of ninety generations. [Note 28]
A Chauvinistic MacNugget DeLuxe -- English hasn’t even been in existence for 90 generations (more like 30), and has been used by plenty of the dumbest nations (insert your own joke here) -- but the good Baron had at least one fictitious soul-mate in a picturesque Dickens character:
 With an unshaken confidence that the English tongue was somehow the mother tongue of the whole world, only the people were too stupid to know it, Mr Meagles harangued [French] innkeepers in the most voluble manner, entered into loud explanations of the most complicated sort, and utterly renounced replies in the native language of the respondents, on the ground that they were “all bosh”. (Little Dorrit)
This “cheerful and fluent Briton” looked on the bright side:
 I’m an old traveler, and all foreign languages and customs are alike to me -- I never understand anything about any of ‘em. Therefore I can’t be put to any inconvenience.
So when he got “denounced” to the police as a “good-for-nothing and a thief”, such “opprobrious language he bore with the best temper, having no idea what it meant”.
II.96 Even J.R. Firth, who, as Britain’s first “Professor of General Linguistics” at the University of London, ought to have guarded more academic tact, proclaimed “modern English the most advanced language in the history of mankind”, and “the greatest social force in the whole world”; “for the sake of mankind it is to be hoped that English will drown the others”.[Note 29] A tsunami of tongues?
II.97 So grand and effluent a language cried out to be kept in good order, and guidebooks were happily sold to the self-conscious rising middle classes, e.g.:
 The friendly instructer, or, A companion for young masters and misses: in which […] their carriage to superiors and inferiors, are recommended in plain and familiar dialogues. (1814)
Some titles patronised the “grammar” of women, one supposes as marriageable daughters or as mothers for well-bred children:
 The young lady’s accidence; or, A short and easy introduction to English grammar designed, principally, for the use of the fair sex (1799)
 The young woman’s companion & instructor, in grammar, writing, arithmetic, geography, drawing, book-keeping, chronology, history, letter-writing, cooking, carving, pickling, preserving, brewing, wine making, &c. &c. (1806)
In , “grammar” ironically came first, far ahead of “cooking”; yet surely skills in “brewing” and “wine making” should better attract potential husbands. (Well, me, anyway. I once tried my own hand at brewing beer, and everybody rated it )
II.98 The most influential work of its kind in the 18th century, and fully in the spirit of the age, was the Short Introduction to English Grammar (1762) by Robert Lowth, a professor of Hebrew at Oxford who had produced a dissertation in Latin on “Hebrew Sacred Poetry”, and later rose to be Bishop of London.
Armed with those oblique credentials, Lowth was not at all loath to legislate the “rules of English grammar” and to castigate “errors” in works of the greatest writers, including Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Dryden, Pope, Addison, and, dear me, Swift.
 It will evidently appear from these Notes, that our best Authors […] have sometimes fallen into mistakes, and even been guilty of errors in point of Grammar.
Although surely it was his “Notes” that were “guilty of errors” (as misrepresentations), a wilful covey of his “rules” have marched through grammar-teaching ever onward, whether or not English teachers acknowledged His Holiness as their guiding light. He prescribed “It is I” (SUBJECT PRONOUN) over “It is me” (OBJECT PRONOUN); proscribed double NEGATIVES; and insisted on distinguishing between “who” (SUBJECT) versus “whom” (OBJECT), “lie” (repose) versus “lay” (place something flat), or “between” (for two) versus “among” (for more than two). Sound familiar? You bet! Do any good? Not yet!
 It is me, after all, who has been subjected to the direct marketing of my very soul. (My Idea of Fun)
 “As far as I was concerned they didn’t do nothing to help me”, says one former patient. (New Internationalist)
 Aha, who did you kill, then? (Flaubert’s Parrot)
 Right. Lie it down. I’m happy with that. (British Rail meeting)BNC
 In the garden, never leave tools laying on the ground, particularly rakes or shears (One’s Company)
 The atmosphere between the three personalities was electric (Tiller’s Girls)
 Differences among the two forests were tested by comparing regression slopes (Nature)
II.99 But somebody who did read His Holiness profited immensely, and was probably the most diligent in spreading such Words of Wisdom. One Lindley Murray had amassed a fortune trading on the British side during the American Revolution, and thereafter had moved to England with the sardonic explanation that it had a “healthier climate”. Casting about for another occupation, he seized upon a fortuitous invitation to write a “grammar” for girls’ schools. To offset his ignorance of the subject-matter, he plagiarised large patches from Lowth and Priestley, and stirred in a hefty dose of the saccharine piety so dear to schools in his quondam homeland, which turned his magpie-nest bodge-up into one of the best-selling grammar books ever.
[No actual portrait of Murray seems to be extant, much less on the Internet. To be sure, he had reasons enough for not wanting to be recognised...]
Ironically, Murray was later tripped up for his own “grammar” by the cautionary tome Modern English Literature: Its Blemishes and Defects by Henry H. Breen (1857) along with such desultory scribblers as Shakespeare, Milton, and Macaulay (so there, Babbly!).
II.100 Disturbingly little has changed since then among commonplace captious notions of what “grammar” is and how it should be “taught”. Modern linguistics in the 20th century did redefine the term more neutrally, as noted back in II.35ff, but without serious impact upon the views of petulant parents or harried teachers. Evidently, notions about “good grammar” and “bad grammar” make dandy stalking-horses for discrimination based on language varieties (II.46).
II.101 Then too, change as such is unwelcome whenever it is misunderstood as “decline”. By that strange logic, the passage through Old, Middle, and Modern English should have long since plunged the language into a void profound of unessential night. And by the same logic, languages like Italian and French would be mere detritus from the “decline” of Latin. I don’t hear anyone saying so; but I also don’t hear those who bewail “decline” explaining how their notions would not apply to these large-scale, long-term evolutions. In fact, explanations seem hardly feasible for language systems with complex word-forms evolving into language systems with complex word-positions; somehow, speakers and groups must have modified or innovated against the currents of prevailing usage, chipping away at endings, collapsing vowels, relaxing “declensions” or “conjugations”, and so on. But “decline” is no explanation at all.
II.102 Yet even today, the fate of English is conjured in terms as dismal as any of the censorious Defoe and Swift (II.92), viz.:
 The Prince of Wales […] declared the English language had declined into a “dismal wasteland of banality, cliché and casual obscenity”. (Guardian, 1989)
Conetmplating the posh circles he moves in, one wonders where HRH can have reaped this lowlife impression -- from palace domestics perhaps?. Like so many before and after, he went on to make scapegoats of us English teachers for not giving our pupils “a vision of greatness”, which to me recalls the jingoism of Macaulay and Firth (II.95f)
II.103 Worse, we become the scapegoats for economic stagnation or public violence if the teaching of grammar gets phased out (cf. II.11, 46):
 The Prince of Wales […] deplored “the abandonment of learning the rules of grammar by rote” and stressed that higher standards of literacy were needed if Britain was to compete in an increasingly competitive world. (Guardian, 1989)
 Norman Tebbit, later Chairman of the Conservative Party, claimed that the decline in the teaching of grammar had led directly to the rise in football hooliganism. Correct grammar was seen by him as part of the structures of authority, such as respect for elders, for standards of cleanliness, for discipline in schools… (Cox on Cox, 1992)
Britain may be going to “compete” with the “world” in an Olympic event of reciting “rote rules of grammar”. And let Stormin’ Norman, later “Lord” Tebbit, in his natty suit, make a guest appearance before “football hooligans” to administer ceremonious lessons on “correct grammar”.
II.104 As if to stem such darksome tides, the BBC Online announced in June 2000 that a “government’s standards agency” would launch a sprightly-named “Grammar Crammer” for “a generation of teachers who were not taught grammar when they were at school” and yearn for “a chance to catch up”. You have to be impressed by the ambitious scale:
 The training programme, which will explain grammar to teachers and then show what they should be teaching pupils, will be carried out by teams led by 400 consultants. The first wave of training will be for teachers of 10 to 11 year olds, with spaces on training courses available for every teacher of this year group in England. (my emphasis)
The Beeb didn’t say how many such teachers merrie olde England had, but the proportions assigned to each of those “400 consultants” in a single “wave” would be staggering (and so would the consultants). As of July 2006, BBC Online has not published any further reports on the programme, nor could I discover any on the whole Internet. If anybody knows, put me wise, willya?
II.105 Today, we may be entering the span of Post-Modern English as an international and multicultural language family. I only wish I could see more evidence for optimistic visions like this:
 At this moment in world history the post-modern project claims the end of ideology and with it the end of geographic inequalities and or class, race, and gender struggles. [Note 30]
If so, users of English world-wide should be more flexible regarding their “grammar”. By and large, I fancy I sense such a trend in the burgeoning electronic media: casual English predominates; the varieties of Scotland, Ireland, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia have their own websites; and we are gradually attaining high-quality speech synthesis and voice transmission to hear them and see them. Personal “blogs”, interactive chat sites, and interest groups can disseminate their own versions of English in numberless channels amid a verdant archipelago of piquant surprises, viz.:
 I am a postgraduate majored in Business English in Chongqing University, China. I would like to extend my sincere thank to you. You have made such wonderful homepage that I could not love it no more!
As I have heard in South African English (with better logic than the British “Standard”): “my pleesure!”
II.F “Lexicon”, “grammar”, “lexicogrammar”, and “usage”
II.106 Especially during earlier ages, the uses of the term “grammar” reviewed in section II.D overlapped somewhat with the areas also called “lexicon” (or “vocabulary”, which is the more common term but lacks an adjective) as well as “orthography”. Yet a contrary tendency to separate “grammar” from “lexicon” may have been correlated with compressing English “grammar” into a narrowly “linguistic” side apart from the “cognitive” and “social” sides, and detaching “form” from “function” (cf. II.4, 6). Perhaps, too, “traditional” and “modern” studies alike envisioned the “lexicon” to be a miscellaneous and disordered list of words with their individual definitions, meriting at most a practical “dictionary”, whilst theoretical study remained devoted to a “grammar” describing the “phrase”, “sentence” and so on, as formal patterns of slots to plug in lexical items strictly according to word-class.
II.107 To attain a fresh vision, we can do as we did with GRAMMAR versus “grammar” (in § II.19) by distinguishing between the real LEXICON (in BLOCK CAPITALS) known to the English-language community, versus any possible “lexicon” (in ordinary type) compiled to describe it. By parallel reasoning, the LEXICON is always far more encompassing and diverse than any version, whether known to one language user or described in one “lexicon”. In that sense, “writing a lexicon” or a “dictionary” is a yet more utopian enterprise than “writing a grammar”.
II.108 Nonetheless, the doughty compiling of “dictionaries” for English has a longer history than is generally remembered. Unlike the early “grammars”, they were less devoted to stating “rules” and safeguarding “correctness” than to corralling and explaining a vocabulary that was assiduously blossoming in the wake of the national triumph of English (cf. II.86ff).
II.109 The earlier stages were fraught with disputes about whether the vocabulary should be retained as “pure” English  or augmented by borrowing .
 our own tung shold be written cleane and pure, unmixt and unmangled with borowing of other tunges; […] Then doth our tung naturallie and praisablie utter her meaning, whan she boroweth no conterfeitness of other tunges (John Cheke, 1557)
 whan we be driven to speake of thynges that lacke the names in oure tonge, we be also driven to borowe the wordes that we have not, sometyme out of Latin, sometyme out of Greke; […] though now at fyrst hearyng this word stondeth straungelye with you, yet by use it shall waxe familiar (Thomas Lupset, 1533)
Borrowing won out, and its products must seem virtually indispensable to us: from the 16th century, abrupt, accurate, aggravate, catastrophe, dictionary, futile, negotiate, species, thesis; from the 17th century, acclaim, apparatus, atrocious, diploma, dogma, elastic, fluctuate, graphic, hesitate, miscellaneous, phenomenon, tendency. And so on, in luxuriant profusion (cf. III.5).
II.110 English seems to have acquired
the full status of a national language only gradually and in hectoring
competition with Latin and Norman French, as I have recalled. Its own history
was not so level and continuous that usages from Old or Middle English would
seem transparent and congenial to the general population, such as “wanion” (or
“wannion”) for vengeance or plague; and “eanling” (or “yeanling”)
for a newborn lamb.[Note 31] Besides,
the cognitive function of developing new knowledge through language whereby
“men shulde expresse
more abundantly the
thynge that they conceyved in theyr harts” (Thomas Elyot, 1531), may well have
conflicted with the social function of people who “noweadayes,
more sekynge their owne glorye then
the profite of the readers, writ so French Englishe and so Latine”
II.111 Fittingly, the first recorded dictionary of English, published in 1604 by Robert Cawdrey, bore a title signalling its purpose: A table alphabeticall of hard usual [unusual!?] words. In 1616, John Bullokar, the son of our first grammarian William (cf. § II.83), issued his Compleat dictionary, with the further title An English expositour. Thereafter followed, in measured procession, such tomes as Henry Cockeram’s The English dictionarie (1623); Edward Cocker’s English dictionary, containing, an explanation of the most refined and difficult words and terms and the derivation of them (1704); and Nathan Bailey’s Dictionarium britannicum: or, A more compleat universal etymological dictionary than any extant (1730).[Note 32] The latter was cheerfully user-friendly, proffering “Entertainment of the Curious”, “Information of the Ignorant” and “Benefit of young Students, Artificers, Tradesmen and Foreigners”. It was the first -- and for many years, the last -- to include not just “hard and technical words” from many fields, but also dialect, slang, and dirty words.
II.112 The most famous work of all, often mistaken for the first though in fact partly inspired by Bailey’s, was of course Dr Samuel Johnson’s A dictionary of the English language: in which the words are deduced from their originals, and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers (1755-56). As the title suggests, it was extensively data-driven, with some 114,000 illustrative quotations from those “writers”. He ruefully abandoned the hustings set up by the likes of Defoe and Swift, who had campaigned for an “English Academy” (cf. II.89):
 Those who have been persuaded to think well of my design will require that I should fix our language, and put a stop to those alterations of time and chance; [...] I flattered myself for a while, but now begin to fear that I have indulged expectation which neither reason nor experience can justify.
And, as we shall see directly, some of his definitions were rather more suited to airing his unabashed self-indulgences .
II.113 Whatever Johnson’s ultimate merits, his only serious challenger during the next hundred years was Noah Webster. In 1806, this industrious New Englander brought forth his Compendious dictionary of the English language, whose title at once informed the user that “five thousand words are added to the number found in the best English compends; the orthography is corrected; and the definitions of many words amended and improved.” After the fashion of an almanac, it miscellaneously appended “tables of moneys” (currencies); of “weights and measures, ancient and modern”; of “remarkable events and discoveries”; of “divisions of time among the Jews, Greeks and Romans”; and even of the “post-offices” and the “number of inhabitants in the United States”. In 1828, his American dictionary of the English language (which is posted on the Internet),[Note 33] bore a title proposing to expound “accurate and discriminating definitions, with numerous authorities and illustrations”; “the origin, affinities and primary signification of English words”; and “genuine orthography and pronunciation of words, according to general usage or to just principles of analogy”. As if to outdo his previous book, this time he appended “an introductory dissertation on the origin, history, and connection of the languages of western Asia and of Europe; and a concise grammar of the English language”! Two blockbusters by any measure, whose dog-eared descendants have stood on my desk this many a year.
II.114 In their characters, the two greatest pioneering lexicographers of English were strikingly disparate: the one argumentative if not choleric, the other gentlemanly if not saintly.
The contrast sometimes leaps out of the respective definitions of Johnson  versus Webster , viz.:
 Distiller: One who makes and sells pernicious and inflammatory spirits.
Excise: A hateful tax levied upon commodities, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid.
Tory: One who adheres to the ancient constitution of the state, and the apostolical hierarchy of the Church of England, opposed to a Whig.
Whig: The name of a faction.
 Distiller, n. One who distills; one whose occupation is to extract spirit by evaporation and condensation.
Excise: An inland duty or impost, laid on commodities consumed, or on the retail, which is the last state before consumption.
Tory, The name given to an adherent to the ancient constitution of England and to the apostolical hierarchy. The tories form a party which are charged with supporting more arbitrary principles in government than the whigs, their opponents.
Whig, One of a political party which had its origin [...] when great contests existed respecting the royal prerogatives and the rights of the people. Those who supported the king in his high claims, were called “tories”, and the advocates of popular rights were called “whigs”.
It feels quaint to recall that Johnson’s instant response to the Yankees’ Declaration of Independence was to publish A short appeal to the people of Great-Britain upon the unavoidable necessity of the present war with our disaffected colonies (1776). Fortunately, he did not live to see his world turned upside down; the imagination quails at the inkhorn vituperations he might have unleashed to define “America” and “Yankee” in the next edition.
II.115 If any English dictionary aspired to be definitive, then surely the one planned in the 19th century by The Philosophical Society to cover, as far as possible, every word ever recorded. Volunteers were invited to write each one on a slip of paper, along with date, book title, page number, and a full sentence using it. Whereas 100,000 slips were expected, nearly six million poured in, creating the first truly large corpus. Sorting and organizing this multitude of slips into a compendium took some seventy years, chiefly under the sharp eye of J.A.H. (James Augustus Henry) Murray.
The eventual work was completely published by 1928 as A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (a title later saluted by Jespersen’s Grammar, II.27), better known to us as the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), of which we are currently being favoured with a second edition in “just” 20 volumes.
II.116 Even so heroic an effort cannot endow security or finality upon the problems involved in the lexicography of English. In striving for inclusion, the first OED scooped in some words that had appeared in a book and passed onto a slip without gaining much currency. For example, “twank” was listed for making a clanking noise, but I can find in all my data but a single use:
 A Freeman of London has the Privilege of disturbing a whole Street for an Hour together, with the Twanking of a Kettle or a Frying-Pan. (Spectator, 1711)
Besides, an isolated sentence may not at all suffice to elucidate the meaning of rare items, e.g.:
 O fine villain! A silken doublet, a velvet hose, a scarlet cloak, and a copatain hat! (Taming Of The Shrew) [tall conical hat]
 Troth, I think your other rebato were better. (Much Ado) [starched lace collar]
Nor can I find in my data any other sentence that would do so for these two.
II.117 Further problems lie in the divergences among the versions of the LEXICON known to conspicuous language users, which can be far more incisive than those between their versions of the GRAMMAR. At the top end, we stand in awe of Will Shakespeare, whose prodigious “vocabulary” -- according to the BBC Story of English series, over 30,000 words and the largest on record -- enabled him not only to enunciate such an enumeration as , but to implement it all in his works.
Yet he could just as easily mingle the bluntest annad homiest words into the speech of kings [123-24].
 Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise, three-pil'd hyperboles, spruce affectation, figures pedantical... (Love's Labour's Lost)
 we have done but greenly [foolishly] in hugger-mugger [in secret] to inter him (Hamlet)
 other devils that suggest by treasons do botch [stitch clumsily] and bungle up damnation with patches [motley pieces of cloth] (Henry V)
the bottom end, we all too readily notice a
 I want to thank you for strategizing our discussions.
 I also read three Shakespeares. I've got a ecalectic reading list.
 When I first got going, the pundits said: “You know, this issue doesn't seem to resignate with people”.
If the OED really records all words, the gormless dyslexia of Dumbya Bush shall endow the English lexicon with such innovations as “nucular”, “malfeance”, “misunderestimated”, “incarcinated”, and “uninalienable rights”.
II.119 The problems are similar on a larger scale for regional variations, which weigh more heavily in lexicon than in grammar. Here too, the obsession with “standard” versus “non-standard” has fomented a fussy over-avoidance of regional usages (cf. §), viz.:
 No one who has any regard for purity of diction and the proprieties of cultivated society will be guilty of the use of such expressions “teeny”, “feller”, “yaller”, “taters”, “cowcumbers”, “sparrowgrass”, “sot” for “sat”, “fooling you” for “deceiving you”, “lots of books” for “many books” [etc etc] (Slips of Speech)
Bryant’s roster of forbidden lexical items for the New York Evening Post, mentioned back in § II.48, banned ones he apparently thought too informal, like “pants”, “bogus”, or “humbug”; or too formal, like “inaugurate”, “jeopardize”, and “leniency”; or again too, erm, feminine, like “artiste”, “authoress”, and “poetess”. Humbug at any price.
II.120 Regional usage can evidently put lexicography at loggerheads with language guardians. I can see no rational reason for excluding an item like “feller” or “fella” from a dictionary; they are attested lexical items of English, whether or not they find favour with some starchy blowhard who hopes to shine by dithering about the “proprieties of cultivated society”. Yet the 1963 edition of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, with its easy-going acceptance of such regional usages (marked a bit inaccurately as “informal”) once stirred up a hailstorm of abuse for “sabotaging” the language. The storm has passed away without a tremor;[Note 34] yet language guardians will never lay to rest their lances and halberds as long as the crusade for “good English” can be brandished for a public spotlight and private profit.
II.121 Still more problems of variation arise when specialisation engenders truly rare and erudite items of great longevity. The progressive Webster’s Collegiate also lists “monopsony” for “one buyer and many sellers”, and “borborygmus” for “intestinal rumbling caused by gas”. Ironically, those definitions do not fit the sole occurrences in the BNC:
 Many bureaus are to some extent in the position of monopsony. They are the sole buyers of some types of labour and materials for the goods and services that only they produce. (Bureaucracy and Political Power)
 Most of these blooms are carnivores. […] The borborygmus of a dove calls from the belly of a bush. (Arcadia)
The actual state of the “bureaus” in  is surely “one buyer and one seller”; and a “dove cannot “call” out “rumbling gas” in .
II.122 This same Webster’s illustrates the perils of seeking control through specialist consultants and getting back definitions that are practically meaningless to non-specialists, e.g.:
 gyroscope: a wheel or disc mounted to spin rapidly about an axis and also free to rotate about one or both of two axes perpendicular to each other and to the axis of spin so that a rotation of one of the two mutually perpendicular axes results from application of torque to the other when the wheel is spinning and so that the entire apparatus offers considerable opposition depending on the angular momentum to any torque that would change the direction of the axis of spin
By contrast, a recent corpus-based dictionary is refreshingly user-friendly:
 A gyroscope is a device that contains a disc rotating on an axis that can turn freely in any direction, so that the disc maintains the same position, whatever the position or movement of the surrounding structure. (COBUILD)
II.123 Such dictionaries have spearheaded the rising popularity of corpus-based approaches to the lexicon, notably to support the teaching and learning of English as a Foreign Language. There, we might take the opportunity to reconsider some of the relevant linguistic, cognitive and social issues.
II.124 Fortunately perhaps, the size of the LEXICON is a rather irrelevant issue. I have read that “an average native speaker may be exposed to one million words per month" (Norbert Schmitt, Vocabulary in Language Teaching), which seems not merely way too high if “different words” is meant, but irretrievably speculative, the more so as the question of whether two items count as the “same” or “different” WORDS cannot be resolved in any general way, but only from specific comparisons of multiple contexts.
II.125 In October 2006, the Collins Word Web was lauded on the Net as an “unrivalled and constantly updated 2.5 billion-word database of today's English”, which the BBC News (but not the Collins website) goes on to say is “monitoring sources” and “expanding at a rate of 30m words per month". But “have confidence”, o ye people: with company’s new Dictionary and Thesaurus, you can “discover all the very latest words as they appear in the language with grammar, usage, and writing tips” (Word Power). That’s right -- all.
II.126 The Collins Websters at understandably didn’t venture to say how many are different words, nor whether the “expansion rate” is engendering words different from any in the “Web” so far, though such seems slyly implied. I would not deny the “rate” because I have no evidence; yet I doubt they have either. One cannot run 30 million searches on items suspected of being new. And the Internet is totally unmanageable for such a purpose; even if we had some programs to calculate how many words it sustains in one month -- scarcely imaginable in itself -- still harder would be to determine how much of the increase in the next month counts as “new words”.
II.127 The issue of currency holds more relevance for deciding whether lexical items are being used enough to warrant attention. Here I would single out the clear advantages in consulting multiple corpora: at least one for older usages that may still be more or less current (such as my EPC); and one for current usages that may be more or less common (such as the BNC). The EPC contains nearly all the “classic” works assigned or recommended by “English Departments”; the BNC contains a wealth of sources mostly not held in such high regard.
II.128 Together, these corpora can pinpoint older usages now lost from currency, such as “belted” for a person “ennobled” by the “sovereign” with a ceremonial sword plus a “belt” around the waist to hold it . The usage fell prey to mockery in the early 20th century, displaced by “hit” in a whimsical sense , which is current now ; and seat “belts” are advised (if not mandated) in a literal sense .
 And they themselves were belted knights, experienced soldiers, of the best blood of France. (Jeanne d’Arc, 1896)
 “We are a proud family. [...] My father is a lineal descendant of belted earls.” “I belted one of ‘em once in the Duquesne Hotel. […]. He was there dividing his attentions between Monongahela whiskey and heiresses, and he got fresh.” (Options, 1909)
 Mr Gillis had belted fourteen of us for setting off towards the door when the bell rang rather than waiting for his instruction. (Truth of Stone, 1991)
 Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted (Miami Herald, 1988)
More persistence may be noted for the argot VERB “peach”, i.e., report to the police”, attested since the 15th century. It has done service for such famed reprobates as Falstaff , Macheath , and Fagin ; and still popped up as an, erm, children’s pastime the during the nefarious Stalinist purges .
 If I be ta’en, I’ll peach for this. An [If] I have not ballads made on you all, and sung to filthy tunes, let a cup of sack be my poison. (Henry IV)
 The Sheriff’s Officers, I believe, are now at the Door. That Jemmy Twitcher should peach me, I own, surpris’d me! (Beggar’s Opera)
 Suppose that lad was to peach -- to blow upon us all, [...] stealing out at nights to find those most interested against us, and peaching to them. (Oliver Twist)
 Last week by the Soviet Court tried the murderers of Russia's famed “good children” who peached on their father and had him banished for the crime of “obstructing collectivization”. (TIME, 5/12/1932)
Neither item need concern teachers or learners these days, but if encountered, the context should work them out, as we can see from these data.
II.129 In lucky cases, corpus data furnish clues about diminishing currency:
 “Well, heavens to Betsy”, said Camille, coldly, using one of her grandmother’s expressions. “How perfectly marvellous”. (Pillars of Gold)
 She was the sort of Granny who ate bayonets. “I ain’t lost nuffink. You a rozzer?” Rozzer? Did people in “sarf London” still use words like that? “Do I look like Old Bill, lady?” I put on the cockney something rotten. (Just Another Angel)
Yes, some people still do say “rozzer” for police in my data, but far more often “Old Bill”, which, like the humanoids so designated, circulates a whacking great deal.
II.130 Currency may be indicated by frequencies in corpus data, but by no means reliably. Topics may quickly call the attention of a society through public discourse and quickly lose it too. When I queried the COBUILD corpus in 1994, the most common expression occurring with “revolution” was “Ethiopian”; and with “sex”, it was “Pistols”. Today, I doubt such frequencies carry so much significance.
II.131 The issue of distribution is also of interest, and confronts us with a paradox. On the one hand, regional and social distributions are being reshuffled or dissolved by mass media, global migration, and the “downward mobility” as middle “rungs” in the “social ladder” are cracked away by massive layoffs, which in turn infest public discourse with disingenuous mayfly euphemisms: “schedule adjustments” (Stouffer Foods), “career-change opportunity” (Clifford of Vermont), a “career transition program” (General Motors), “management initiated attrition” (IBM), “negative hiring” (Peoria, Arizona Police Dept.), and even “decruiting” (Council of Residential Specialists).[Note 35]
II.132 On the other hand, specific groups keep emerging and affirming their identity with distinctive versions of English, e.g., in search outlets for “partners” like Sky  as compared to Meeting Point .
 Four fanciable females seek four fun-loving, friendly fellas for frolicking and freaking out. Interested? If so, and you’re reasonably good-looking and 15+ get scribbling to Laura, Julie, Debbie and Kirstie.
 Scottish lady. Solvent, genuine, loyal. Would like to meet gentleman, genuine and loyal, for long term relationship. Non-smoker over 5'8", 45-55. Interests: countryside, travel, music, animals.
Interpreting such discourse requires appropriate cognitive and social backgrounds. Those “females” in  were probably around 15 years old, proud of their looks, fans of hip-hop, and experienced with, erm, stimulants; they did not want to “freak out” by getting “upset or angry or confused” (a COBUILD definition). The “lady” in  was probably around 45 years, proud of her intellect, a fan of symphonies, and experienced with, erm, ungentlemanly, disingenuine, and disloyal males; she did not want a “gentleman” who runs a travelling circus, which, by a droll coincidence, would unify all her “interests”. All mere inferences based on group images, of course, but plausible enough.
II.133 University students have long rejoiced in creating a group image of solidarity by their usages:
 Research by Tony McEnery [at the University of Lancaster], in conjunction with the website Student World, found UK campuses [coining] words for getting drunk, [like] “trollied, bladdered, klangered, bazeracked, wombled”; […] and for sex, like “lancing, jousting, getting jiggy with it, parking your bus, having a boff”. (BBC World News)
These data not only mystify the harried parents but also tend to elude data sleuths like me. Among the terms listed here for “drunk”, I could find only “trollied” and “bladdered” on the Internet [146-47], other than in citations of the same BBC report.
 Being so trollied on his birthday in Copenhagen , Axel asked folks how to get to Amsterdam Centraal (not only wrong city, wrong country!!!) (Team Plastique)WWW
 Young men, instead of getting bladdered on pints of lager with whisky chasers, will magically turn into sophisticated persons (Simon Hoggart in the Guardian)
II.134 Corpus data excel in tossing up lexical items that are not single words, and are commonly called idioms. The usually cited examples are fully fixed and allow no changes without ceasing to be an idiom, e.g., out of the blue” for “quite unexpectedly” in  versus .
 Claire’s father married a farmer’s daughter. Right out of the blue; ran away and married her in England . (No Enemy But Time)
 There was a soul subtly akin to her own gazing at her out of the very dark blue eyes that were watching her so intently. (Avonlea)
Yet authentic data show “idiomatic” usages that are not so fixed, e.g., threats of punishment for some mistake or neglect expressed as whimsically misappropriating some piece of the hearer’s anatomy:
 By the third day I expect third-years to work alone, and if you slip up, gal, I’ll have your guts for garters! (Hospital Circlers)
 That’s a nice bit of double-barrelled lying. Quick. Out with it, or I’ll have your skin for a cigar case. (First of Midnight)
 A secretary whips away the remote. “Keep that handy”, I warn him, “or I’ll have your head for a hat-rack.” (The Dyke & the Dybbuk)
 Matt put in a warning. “Just let Bill hear you say you’re the hostess and he’ll have your ears for horse blinkers.” (Wilder’s Wilderness)
II.135 Perhaps the most contentious challenge of real data is to apply a consensual definition of the “English word”. More detailed exploration will follow in Part IV; here, I shall just touch on one spiky illustration, namely, the same form “foot” in multiple functions:
 Gary Lineker swung a foot, but missed. England then funnelled back and the match died. (Independent)
 You can also cross-venture into Switzerland at the foot of the famous Matterhorn . (Citalia Italy )
 I was wallowing in the luxury of the Savoy , being waited on hand and foot. (Seasons of my Life)
 Many customers will have to foot the bill for water meters, which most companies will eventually install. (Economist)
You might pin your hopes on “literal meaning” of “foot” as the human or animal appendage for walking and running, of which the one affixed to Tottenham Hotspur legend Gary Lineker (which usually doesn’t “miss”)  marches among England’s glories in the football world. A bit less literally, many visibly tall things such as the “famous Matterhorn”  could be said to possess a “foot” at the bottom.
But a literal meaning for “waited on hand and foot”  might be getting manicured and pedicured on just one side (unthinkable at the Savoy!). And the most literal way to “foot the bill”  is to dismiss the bill collector with a precise kick in the rear end -- which may force you to “foot the bill” again in a pricey lawsuit for violating a statute with some ironclad title like “demissio arsepropulsa debitionis exactorum”. Pleading to the magistrate you were innocently being “literal” won’t get you off the hook.
II.136 Perhaps the problems and issues raised in this section would become more tractable by building upon the “systemic” and “functional” conception of the interactive LEXICOGRAMMAR (Part V). It balances along a cline of DELICACY indicating the range and precision of the limits on plausible choices, with a more “delicate” lexical region and a less “delicate” grammatical region.
An instance at high DELICACY is “won’t/wouldn’t hear of it” meaning that somebody with social power wants somebody else to refrain from a recently mentioned ACTION [158-59]. You can hardly substitute other words anywhere, e.g. “?I wouldn’t listen to it”.
 I feel the
time has come for me to have a change of hairstyle. But he won't hear
of it. He's even accused me of not loving him! (
 “Would you like me to drive you, Aunt Goldie?” “What a nice offer. But only if you let me pay, dear.” “I wouldn’t hear of it.” (The Dyke & the Dybbuk)
If the speaker is the one proposing to refrain, VERBS like “think” and “dream” can substituted under less powerful social constraints, e.g.:
 Antonia talked and thought of nothing but the tent. [...] “Stop going to the tent?” she panted. “I wouldn’t think of it for a minute!” (My Antonia)
 “Are you being cheeky, by any chance?” “I wouldn’t dream of it”, she said demurely.” “I’ll be good as gold, I promise.” (Out of the Storm)
II.137 To place your hearer under especially powerful constraints to refrain, you can use the NEGATIVE IMPERATIVE of the VERBS “think of” or “think about”, e.g.:
 But don’t think of climbing that tree, John; it is a great deal too dangerous. (Doone)
 “Would you like to tell me where you went last night? [...] And don’t even think about lying to me”, Katherine whispered, her voice sending a chill through him. (Another Time)
II.138 An instance at moderately lower DELICACY, brought to my notice by John Sinclair, is the VERB “brook”: it prefers a NEGATIVE, an AUXILIARY like “will” or “would”, a human or institution of power as SUBJECT, and a disapproved activity as OBJECT:
 Billy Windsor is indeed the boss. A man of intensely masterful character, he will brook no opposition. (Psmith)
 These doctrines the patriots of 1776 sealed with their blood. They would not brook even the menace of oppression. (Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society)
Conversely, I found no contrary data like these:
 ??Oh heck, I reckon as I’ll just brook this ‘ere blimmin’ mouthwash.
 ??See here, laddie, me mum don’t brook no belchin’ at supper.
[166-167] are not so much ungrammatical as peculiar and improbable, though strategic perhaps for sarcasm; and, at all events, not attested.
II.139 An instance at genuinely low delicacy is the pattern of PASSIVE with the AUXILIARY “get” rather than “be”, preferred for something PEJORATIVE done to a person:
 Unluckily, he got pitched into a quagmire in Read Park. (Lancashire Witches)
 He got runned over, up the street; one wheel went right across his back (Canadian Elocutionist)
 Guns N’ Roses have scrapped three shows on their current world tour after their support act’s singer James Hetfield got badly burned. (Daily Mirror)
I found no AMELIORATIVE PASSIVES so cheery as .
 ??She got welcomed, embraced, and cordially presented to the distinguished guests.
which might suggest she was a bit overwhelmed by the effusion.
II.140 As with the other PASSIVE examined in II.8f, this cognitive and social loading is a puzzle. It too plausibly crystallized into custom from consistent usage, but more recently than the other, which I had found firmly established during the 18th century. I ran leaky searches of my EPC on “he got” and “she got” (searches with NOUN SUBJECTS would be impossibly leaky) and my total of authentic examples, discounting “engaged” and “married”, which are not officially deemed calamities (I know, I know), had only 17 “he’s” and 9 “she’s”. The “he’s” suffered agonies: besides those in [168-70], they “got shot”, “heavily bruised”, and fatally “busted over the head”, whereas the “she’s” got served little worse than “frightened” or “roused”, excepting a hapless “nanny” who “got run over”. On the brighter side, if we are to credit General William Booth, a veritable army of indigent scruffs “got saved” by “the Lord” from “drunkenness and all manner of moral and physical uncleanness” plus “the foulest language” (Darkest England).
II.141 Such issues of currency, distribution and idiomaticity might thus be grasped from the lexicogrammatical regularities of attested data. Words most occur when and where they suit their mutual combinations, and may not be current elsewhere. You can “put the mockers” on something to stop or spoil it, but you cannot “drop” them on it, much less “take them off”. You can “run” or “go like the clappers” in a desperate hurry, but not “amble” or “wander”, much less “loiter”. Nor again can you “put” on just one “mocker” or “run” like just one “clapper”.
 Ipswich Town simply refuse to take their allotted place at the foothills of the Premiership table. Midfielder Jim Magilton didn't want to say much about his club's lofty sixth position in case he “put the mockers on it”. (Soccer Net)WWW
 Mansell was going like the clappers, setting the fastest lap of the race and unlapping himself. (Road and Track)WWW
II.142 A worthwhile metaphor for the LEXICOGRAMMAR might be a universal tool-kit holding a clever battery of partly or fully automatic tools which sustain all sorts of operations without intense labour. If you need, say, an ADJECTIVE for “garden”, you can paste up your own on the spot, like “gardeny”  or (more refined?) “gardenesque” .
 A gardeny mixture of seasonal flowers will brighten the dreariest Oregon day (Garden Path Flowers)www
 finance became available to complete the park in a traditional gardenesque manner (New Scientist)
So the “kit” must come with a communal “user’s handbook” which gets “read” with more or less attention while the language is learned and developed.
II.143 As a matter of practical convenience, terms like “lexicogrammatical item” or “pattern” are perhaps too unwieldy to seem user-friendly. So I shall generally continue with the handier term usage, and point out specific “grammatical” or “lexical” aspects when the data call for it.
II.G Six criteria for a “friendly grammar”
II.144 On the south portal of the renowned Cathedral at Chartres are allegorical figures representing the Seven Liberal Arts. Whereas Music is a woman beatifically performing on instruments, Grammar is a gorgon-faced teacher holding open a book and brandishing a birch rod over two frightened boys, one of whom is either shielding the other or assisting the punishment in desperate hopes of escaping it himself.
There it has stood for almost a thousand years, the stony monument to the unfriendliness of dinning into distressful children what would scarcely seem to merit being called either “liberal” or “art”.
II.145 Yet the title of my “cyber-book” boldly asserts that “grammar” can become “friendly” if we can meet certain criteria, which I shall try to expound. First and foremost, our “grammar” should be supported by authentic and attested data (I.8).These will display the real GRAMMAR within the LEXICOGRAMMAR constituting a system of guidelines and strategies that speakers and writers of English actually know and use for managing its forms, patterns, and positions (cf. II.19). Large and diverse data sets in corpora can help us to partly surmount our individual personal limitations.
II.146 Second, our grammar should be flexible, following the drifts of real data and not just the accumulated preconceptions of the centuries. For example, we may gain in realism by venturing beyond the tidy world of complete and regular CLAUSES and SENTENCES, to describe NON-FINITE CLAUSES and NON-CLAUSES just as we find them.
II.147 Third, our “grammar” should be teachable, which has by no means been adequately respected in the past. The breathy promises of “grammar-books” (like Grammar Crammer, II.33) about “writing perfect sentences” and “revealing secrets for great essays” (while you fix your lawnmower) can lull teachers into premature complacency about the clarity and coherence of the subject-matter.
We would fare better with a critical sensitivity to immunize us against such vague, arcane, or wrong disquisitions as were cited back in II.30-32.
II.148 Fourth, our “grammar” should be learnable, which need not necessary follow after making it teachable. The manifest lack of a reliable causality between teaching and learning cannot be so glibly blamed on the learners being “unintelligent”, “lazy”, “undisciplined”, etc (II.16). One can readily observe disparities when didactic language which is meaningful to grammar teachers is much less so for learners, such as “the noun names an object of thought”, whereas “the verb makes a statement about something else”  (II.30). A “cyber-grammar” like this one can be tuned or rewritten at any time to alleviate communicative obstacles.
II.149 Fifth, my personal criterion for a “friendly grammar” is to be lively and interesting, and perhaps even entertaining, in its choice and presentation of data. Suppose I am choosing among these examples of the PASSIVE:
 Smith claimed he was hit by a bottle thrown from the crowd as Liverpool’s European Cup Winners’ Cup hopes were ebbing away (Guardian)
 Mr Major was hit by an egg thrown from close range by a young man shouting about unemployment (Daily Telegraph)
 A cow plummeted ten feet on to a car bonnet yesterday after leaping a guard rail while escaping from an auction. Shocked driver Shaun Robinson crashed into a fence writing off his Capri, but escaped injury. […] He said: “My insurance company will never believe I was hit by a flying cow.” (Today)
A Mr “Smith” getting “hit by a bottle” is hardly earthshaking newsat British football matches, where booze flows like a cistern in reverse and the etiquette of angry fans gets, erm, lively.
A master architect of “unemployment” like John Major getting “hit by an egg” is more interesting though still not unexpected, even if it’s not the animal product I would have thrown.
But a Mr Robinson getting “hit by a flying cow”, in defiance of the laws of both physics and biology, is the kind of startling data that are most likely to be remembered.
II.150 Or again, suppose I am choosing between these examples of bodily ENACTMENTS , which have a curious GRAMMAR (cf. V.23-25):
 Laurence Evenden belched. I beg your pardon”, he said. (End of the Morning)
 “Sir Priest, I think you have drunk enough!” The priest just stared back, open-mouthed, and belched like a thunderclap. (Poisoned Chalice)
Laurence Evenden is a dullard mentioned in the novel just 8 times, and in 3 of those all he did was “belch”, as if that’s his mission in life -- except when, during a funeral service, perhaps to frankincense the solemnity of the ritual, he “released the excess gas pressure in his duodenum” (i.e. farted). In contrast, a man of the cloth who can “belch like a thunderclap” is an awesome Jove of eructations,[Note 36] outbelching the stoutest revellers I met in the taverns of Northern Germany, whose most explosive discharges barely rivalled an average pistol shot.
Memorable too, this ENACTMENT.
II.151 Sixth and last, a “friendly grammar” should develop the “three-sided” linguistic cognitive, and social perspectives, as set forth at the outset, (II.1). These three sides do not impose rules (a term with ominous overtones of constraint and coercion) but interact in guidelines indicating what is normally preferred in English grammar; and in strategies supporting what language actually sets about to do (II.19, 137).
II.152 These, then, are six criteria I would advocate for a “friendly grammar”. I am only too well aware that they pose substantial challenges, pressures, and risks, and that the result certainly cannot remotely hope to be complete or definitive. But it can hope to contribute a frank, relaxed, entertaining open-house or pot-luck atmosphere for making friends with real GRAMMAR.
II.152 These, then, are six criteria I would advocate for a “friendly grammar”. I am only too well aware that they pose substantial challenges, pressures, and risks, and that the result certainly cannot remotely hope to be complete or definitive. But it can hope to contribute a frank, relaxed, entertaining open-house or pot-luck atmosphere for making friends with real GRAMMAR.
Notes to Part II, Number 2
1. The three terms used here are substantially broader than the orthodox three-fold partition of “linguistics” into “grammar” (or “syntax”), “semantics”, and “pragmatics”. As for the “systems”, my earlier work (e.g. Beaugrande 1980, 1984, 1997) used “virtual” and “actual”, but had to change the former term to “potential” when “virtual reality” became a marketed commodity.
2. Such is most prominent in my books (all the English ones being posted for free downloading on this same website): Text, Discourse, and Process: Toward a Multidisciplinary Science of Texts (1980); Text Production (1984); New Foundations for a Science of Text and Discourse (1997) and A New Introduction to the Study of Text and Discourse (2004). My resolve was evidently felicitous, coming at a stage when these disciplines had grown stagnant in their isolation.
3. For a detailed examination of these “agendas”, see my recent “cyberbook” New Introduction on this website.
4. I scoured the Net for a photo of Cox too, but there are none; nor indeed are there many mentions of him at all, despite his feisty book.
5. H.G. Widdowson told me that the Kingman Committee had in fact produced classroom materials, which the Tories suppressed at Clarke’s instigation, because he “didn’t like the look of them”, i.e., were not enough like traditional grammar-books.
6. See Alastair Pennycook, The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language (London: Longman1994); and Donaldo Macedo, Bessie Dendrinos, and Panayota Gounari, The Hegemony of English (Boulder CO: Paradigm, 2003).
7. The data were not computerised. The initial target size of sampling was the usual million of those times, but exact size when these books came out was not published. Prof. Leech recently told me (November 2005) that the examples cited in the books were “corpus-informed” rather than “corpus-based”.
8. This work is currently offered on Amazon at US $2,475 (!) from a “Germanische Bibliothek”, who teutonically listed it as an “elementary handbook”. Among the rest of his monumental opus, Essentials of English Grammar was reissued in paperback by the University Alabama Press in 1964; his Philosophy of Grammar of 1910 was finally reissued University of Chicago Press in 1992. But his books On Some Disputed Points in English Grammar (1929), The System of Grammar (1933), Logic & Grammar (1948), and How to Teach a Foreign Language (!!) (1967) are all bleakly listed “out of print”. Bloody shame, says I.
9. Cambridge Grammar of English, p. 364.
10.  is an
fine sample of the almost mystical complexity of medieval “grammar” from the
Notule auree of Boncompagno of Signa (ca. 1170-1240), who boasted that
“my books are exalted like the cedar of Lebanon” (Cedrus), which, we
recall, were “the trees of the Lord” and “full of sap” (Psalms
104:16). The term “suppositum” was expounded by the 14th-century
scholastic philosopher William Ockham (or Occam) as a complete being,
incommunicable by identity, not apt to inhere in anything, and not sustained by
anything; see his Quodlibeta Septem IV/7, in the critical edition of J.
Wey, Opera Theologica (St. Bonaventure, NY: Franciscan Institute Press,
1980), vol. 9, pp.
11. Among my own books, the most thorough treatment can be found in Linguistic Theory: The Discourse of Fundamental Works (London: Longman, 1991), also on this website.
12. From Course in General Linguistics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966, p. 14), the English translation by Wade Baskin of Saussure’s Cours de linguistique générale, posthumously compiled and published in 1916 -- and, as I have shown, riddled with self-contradictions.
13. From Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1965, p 3f. 201) -- as I have shown, riddled with pompous absurdities. See now my case study “Performative speech acts in linguistic theory: The rationality of Noam Chomsky”, in Journal of Pragmatics 29, 1998, 765-803.
14. In Chomsky’s interview with Gary Olsen and Lester Faigley, “Language, politics, and composition”, in Gary Olsen and Irene Gales (eds.), Interviews: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Rhetoric and Literacy (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1991), p. 88).
15. Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures (The Hague: Mouton, 1957), 93; and Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press. 1965), pp. 3ff.
16. Quoted in Sidney Greenbaum, Good English, his Inaugural Lecture at University College London in 1984, p. 14.
17. However, the OED overlooked an earlier use in 1844 in the Proceedings of the Philological Society.
18. A distinguished pioneer in the direction indicate was my fellow Austrian Hugo Schuchardt, whose Kreolische Studien (Vienna: C. Geroldssohn, 1882-91) was a landmark far ahead of its time. For an English edition, see now his Ethnography of Variation: Selected Writings on Pidgins and Creoles, edited and translated by T.L. Markey (Ann Arbor : Karoma Publishers, 1979).
19 A good start is www.scots-online.org (“Pittin the Mither Tongue on the Wab!”), which leads to “25 graded lessons, English-to-Scots vocabulary list, verb tables, dialogues”, and so on. Similar sites are also appearing for the Englishes of Wales and Ireland, companion victims of England’s voracious greed and aggression. About time!
20. I find it on the Internet only applied a few times to Arabic, without explanation, in the Zeitschrift für Arabische Linguistik, which we don’t get hereabouts. Perhaps it signifies the diverging varieties of Arabic in many “nations”.
21. Thanks to the website Babawilly’s Dictionary of Pidgin English Words and Phrases.
22. Sidney Greenbaum and John Taylor, “The recognition of usage errors by instructors of freshman composition”, in College Composition and Communication, 1981, 32, p. 173.
23. George Deaux, “The writing project for faculty from disciplines other than English”, in Ann Humes, Bruce Cronnell, Joseph Lawlor, and Larry Gentry (eds.), Moving between Practice and Research in Writing (Los Alamitos: Southwest Research Laboratory, 1981), pp. 75-79.
Helen Mills, Commanding Sentences (Glenview: Scott, Foresman,
25. Patricia Moody, Writing Today (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1981), p. 310.
26. Its composition date is also unknown: perhaps in the 7th or 8th centuries, though the sole manuscript dates from around 1000.
27. See above all
Robert H. Robins, Ancient and Mediaeval Grammatical Theory in
28. Reprinted in G.O. Trevelyan, Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay (London: Longmans Green, 1884), p. 290.
29. John Rupert Firth, Tongues of Men (London: Watts, 1937), pp. 137f, 209, 54.
30. Macedo, Dendrinos, and Gounari (Note 6), p. 89.
31. These relics may hearken back to Old English “wanian”, PRESENT PARTICIPLE “waniand”, for wane, perhaps from the superstition that the waning of the moon was a time of evils; and “ēanian” PAST PARTICIPLE “geēanian”, for bring forth offspring.
32. The sanguine title also promises Etymologies from the Antient British [Gaelic?], Teutonick [German?], Low and High Dutch, Saxon, Danish, Norman and Modern French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee.
33. At www.cbtministries.org/resources/webster1828.htm
34. The once much-reprinted invective “Sabotage in Springfield” of Wilson Follett (Atlantic Monthly, Jan. 1962, 73-77) brings not a single hit on today’s Internet; nor does the same pundit’s book-length threnody Grammar is Obsolete.
35. I thank Jim Hightower in There’s Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos (NY: Harper, 1997), p. 78, for these examples.
36. A whole gallery of refined words for unrefined bodily events is cited in IV.19.
-- CLICK HERE TO GO TO PART THREE --