|  Share | Cite



The first attempts to study grammar began in about the 4th cent. B.C., in India with Panini's grammar of Sanskrit and in Greece with Plato's dialogue Cratylus. The Greeks, and later the Romans, approached the study of grammar through philosophy. Concerned only with the study of their own language and not with foreign languages, early Greek and Latin grammars were devoted primarily to defining the parts of speech. The biblical commentator Rashi attempted to decipher the rules of ancient Hebrew grammar. It was not until the Middle Ages that grammarians became interested in languages other than their own. The scientific grammatical analysis of language began in the 19th cent. with the realization that languages have a history; this led to attempts at the genealogical classification of languages through comparative linguistics. Grammatical analysis was further developed in the 20th cent. and was greatly advanced by the theories of structural linguistics and transformational-generative grammar (see linguistics).

Sections in this article:

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on grammar History from Infoplease:

  • grammar: History - History The first attempts to study grammar began in about the 4th cent. B.C., in India with ...
  • back-to-basics: meaning and definitions - back-to-basics: Definition and Pronunciation
  • Apollodorus, Greek scholar - Apollodorus Apollodorus (of Athens), fl. 2d cent. B.C., Greek scholar. He wrote many works on ...
  • HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE - On Christmas Day, 800, Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope. Under Charlemagne, much of western Europe was
  • Louisa May Alcott: Stepping-Stones - When Nat went into school on Monday morning, he quaked inwardly, for now he thought he should have to display his ignorance before them all. But Mr. B

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Language and Linguistics