The English Patient: English grammar and teaching in the Twentieth Century
and JOHN WALMSLEY
( University of Bielefeld
last changed 7 April 2007
The paper, which you can download as .pdf, has been:
We wrote it over 2002-2004, with minor changes in 2005 (including references added to the influential report by Andrews et al).
In the first half of the Twentieth Century, English grammar disappeared from the curriculum of most schools in England. But since the 1960s it has gradually been reconceptualised, under the influence of linguistics, and now once again has a central place in the official curriculum. Our aim is not only to document these changes, but also to explain them. We suggest that the decline of grammar in schools was linked to a similar decline in English universities, where there was virtually no serious research or teaching on English grammar. Conversely, the upsurge of academic research since the 1960s has provided a healthy foundation for school-level work and has prevented a simple return to old-fashioned grammar-teaching now that grammar is once again fashionable. We argue that linguists should be more aware of the links between their research and the school curriculum.