The grammatical doctrine of the Real Acadedemia Española (1854)
The Grammar of the Real Academia Española (1713) constitutes one of the fundamental chapters of Spanish linguistic thought. It is a required point of reference for all grammarians and has decisively influenced the evolution of grammatical thought. Therefore, the continuing importance of theoretical contributions of Academic bodies is stressed precisely at the present historical moment, in which the most significant progress in linguistic theory may accrue from the process of permanent critical revision of the past. The Grammatical doctrine of 1854 has been chosen as the object of this study for two reasons, both of which derive from the fact that this doctrine constitutes a modification of that of 1771. On the one hand, two periods in the history of linguistics (the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th) can be compared. On the other hand, we may discover to what extent theoretical and practical aspects concur in the two texts. This factor is of great importance since the instrumental nature of all grammar depends on the adaptation of these two aspects. An attempt is made to illustrate both publications by locating historical-cultural points of reference of the period in order to arrive at an objective evaluation of the significance of this doctrine. However, to attain such a goal, the work is analyzed in terms of the work’s original setting, its nature and its aims. The formal structure of the grammar is analyzed and the contents corresponding to the theory are carefully examined. We may deduce from this study that the doctrine of 1854 may be considered ‘traditional grammar’, due to the normativism and logical-grammatical parallelism which underlie its contents as well as the rational method advocated as the criterion which determines the majority of the definitions. For these reasons, the doctrine of 1854 is far removed from the earlier theoretical position stated in the 1771 grammar; it can be inscribed in the category of philosophical grammars of the 19th century. Furthermore, it is argued that the complete edifice of current Spanish grammar is built upon these foundations. Then, the present state of grammar cannot be understood by a simple face-lifting. The grammatical mould is made of many centuries of reflection on the same subjects. To ignore it would be foolhardy. Therefore it is argued that we must return to the foundations where we will find the indelible data which will assist us in interpreting the ever ephemeral present on which future grammars will inevitably be erected, erected.