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Historical Grammar Resources

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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 du français

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.

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