John Wallis (1616–1703)
A Reappraisal of his Contribution to the Study of English
Three centuries after its publication, John Wallis’ Grammatica Linguae An-glicanae (1653) is still worth the attention of the readers interested in the study of English. Considered within the context of its day, it appears as a significant contribution to the field, and indeed a work which constitutes a landmark in the history of the study of English. Its author, a remarkable mathematician looked upon as one of the most important precursors of Newton, succeeded in handling facts of the English language (both phonetics and grammar) better than any of his predecessors. His work, which illustrates the empirical approach, is important through the degree of independence attained in it from the Latin model which, at that time, still exerted a strong influence on attempts at describing the European vernaculars. In the advent of comparative linguistics in the 19th century Wallis’ grammar fell into disgrace. Even in our time scholars often repeat, with little justification, earlier criticisms of Grammatica Linguae Anglicanae – thus suggesting that Wallis’ contribution to the study of English has not always been examined in terms of the advances it represented when it was first published more than three centuries ago. When mapping out the development of linguistics in a historiography of our discipline there are two aspects in which Wallis’ grammar of English deserves special mention: when tracing the evolution of articulatory phonetics and when examining the roots of modern structural descriptivism.
Published online: 01 January 1974
Baugh, Albert C(roll
Bolton, W(hitney) F(rench)
Bonet, Juan Pablo
Dobson, E(ric) J(ohn)
Fries, Charles C(arpenter
Funke, Otto (Victor Conrad Wilhelm
(1665–1724), and John Brightland (no dates) 1711 A Grammar of the English Tongue, with notes giving the grounds and reason of grammar in general. …. London: Printed for J. Brightland. (2nd rev. ed., printed by R. Brugis 1712; 8th ed., London: J. Rivington & J. Fletcher 1759 Facs.-ed. of 1st ed., Menston: Scolar Press 1967.)
Helmont, Franciscus Mercurius
Hulbert, James R(oot
Kemp, J. A.
Kennedy, Arthur G(arfield
Melchior, A. B.
(1745–1826). 1795 English Grammar, adapted to the different classes of learners. With an appendix, containing rules and observations for assisting the more advanced students to write with perspicuity and accuracy [Subtitle varies]. York: Wilson, Spence & Mawman. (Repr. Menston: Scolar Press 1968; 3rd rev. ed., 2 vols., London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown 1816.)
Ramus, Petrus Pierre de La Ramée
Raney, George William
Robins, R(obert) H(enry)
Troike, Rudolph C(harles)
In press . “Lest the Wheel be too oft Re-invented: Towards a reassessment of the intellectual history of linguistics”. Festschrift for Archibald A. Hill ed. by Edgar Polomé, et al. The Hague Mouton
White, Richard Grant
Cited by 2 other publications
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