Victor on Grammar

Fascinated with this week’s readings! And surprised, too, given that one does not usually associate grammar with fascinating. The debate surrounding issues of teaching grammar and style is very much still alive. Even though I felt that Micciche, in trying to vindicate grammar, somewhat stretched the term of “rhetorical grammar” onto other similar yet distinct realms of language, I found her discussion very intriguing and insightful. That is, at some points, I felt that she was discussing prosody or diction, rather than grammar (although these are all certainly related), but even so, she touches on what really seems to be the point of many of these essays: that grammar is rhetorically charged and that, as such, it points to the artificial nature of language, and by association, to our constant manipulation of language for a particular end. Style, then, is inevitably linked to grammar. And even though Milic distinguishes three different views of style, it seems to me that these readings adopt the theory of ornate form, or rhetorical dualism, in that they clearly distinguish between form and content, and particularly in the effects that a particular form can have on an audience. The last decades have certainly seen a demystification of the longstanding conception of grammar as a fixed entity and its implications; nevertheless, I particularly appreciated that they all still value grammar and style, not as only possibly existing in one way, but rather as polymorphous. The SMG rightly advocates for teaching a “particular level of style not as more correct but as more appropriate for specific rhetorical situations.” Micciche several examples are particularly fruitful for the classroom (Eminem!). In order for students to be fully understand the importance of grammar and style, I think we must present them with unorthodox examples that they might easily identify with (or at least recognize culturally), so that they can see how each variation brings with it a certain connotation.