Historical Grammar Resources
Compilations of grammars written
between the 16th and 20th centuries, with
exhaustive representation of those most relevant to the usage of
the time, collected with the idea that reports (and censure) of
specific forms can be taken as evidence of the existence of those
forms in contemporaneous speech. These data complement empirical
work on the trajectory of grammatical change involving a variety
of morphosyntactic features. The historical range enables us to
trace the evolution of both prescriptive norms and existing (stigmatized)
variation during the development of the English and French languages.
1. Ottawa Grammar Resource on Early Variability in English
From a survey of 249 English-language grammars and usage manuals
published between 1577 and 1930, 98 most relevant to contemporaneous
oral usage were retained. 700 pages of excerpts trace through the
development of the English language, the trajectory of linguistic
features now associated with African American and/or other non-standard
varieties of English.
2. Répertoire historique de grammaires
An survey of French grammars and usage manuals published
between 1530 and 1998. 163 sources most useful for diachronic purposes
were retained, distinguished according to focus on (oral) usage.
An important component is the representation of specifically North
American sources. The diachronic and geographic range of the Répertoire
historique de grammaires du français is ideally suited
to tracing the development of prescriptive norms and attendant ideologies
with respect to the relevant linguistic features, and relating them
both to the current situation in Ottawa-Hull French and to an earlier
stage of the (spoken) language.