The grammar ( grammar, Greek [ τέχνη ] γραμματική, [ Techne ] grammatike "art of reading and writing ", of γράμμα, gramma, " writing, letter" Latin: [ ars ] grammatica ) referred to in linguistics (linguistics ) any form a systematic linguistic description. The term grammar is one for the rules themselves, on the other hand, grammar used for the theory of a particular language or language family. Parts of the newer grammatical research as to the question, how far can be reduced mainly natural languages ​​to formal languages ​​(see Noam Chomsky ).

The adjectives grammatically and grammatically (from late Latin grammatical calis ) " concerning the grammar " are now mostly synonymous in the meanings or " the rules of grammar according to " used. In some cases the word is grammatically but not assigned to the latter meaning. Accordingly, as the negated form ungrammatical ( for " not following the rules of grammar accordingly," it also agrammatisch ) significantly more common.

The demarcation of the grammar of other areas

Grammar is both a term for a linguistic system ( the subject of the " theory of grammar "). This is colloquially often used in a very narrow sense and refers may only to the morphology of words ( ie, morphology). This is the case if colloquial statements are made like " Latin has more grammar than English. " Even in traditional grammar spelling but already involves the construction of sentences (syntax) of the core areas of grammar (so that the quoted colloquial phrase already no longer is applicable). In linguistics, the term grammar, however, has even more meaning and includes all areas in which the structure of linguistic units is examined, including the phonetics ( phonology ) and the study of meaning (semantics), as they relate to rules for the construction of linguistic meaning relates.

On the other hand is referred to by the term " grammar " is a specific description of a single language. Here then, other areas are often treated as well, even if they are not the subject of the theory of grammar: Stylistics about, rhetoric and metric, in historical grammars languages, number representation, weights and measures and chronology.

Not for grammar counts the investigation of the events in the use of a language, which are handled by pragmatics, discourse analysis and sociolinguistics. However, arising from these areas very well often repercussions on the description of the language system.

Grammars in antiquity and the Middle Ages

As the creator of a scientific grammar the Greek sophists, particularly Protagoras, inter alia, the appointment of the three genders and the distinction of tenses and modes are attributed apply.

Different grammars can be classified according to their function prescriptive or descriptive grammars. Prescriptive and normative grammars contain rules that are generated by the explicit expressions of a language. In contrast to the natural and most of all spoken languages ​​whose criteria are vague and rely mainly on a certain acceptance of a speech community, including terms when they are out of compliance, either not to language (as in the formal languages ​​), or witness at least from a bad style. But in ancient times, first with the creation of grammatical systems, arguing you also about their meaning and usage.

Despite these criticisms, the prescriptive attitude sat by that fact alone, because Latin was to learn academically as a written language. Thus, the grammar, the text also the acquisition of pragmatic knowledge comprised about learning the rules of the language addition, in late antiquity, the first of the seven liberal arts. Together with rhetoric and dialectic, ie logic, it formed the trivium here. Many of the rules and terms have been taken over by Roman scholars and grammarians and transferred to the Latin and held as entry into the European, ecclesiastically oriented middle age. Here also the logical and philosophical considerations have been preserved and were reflected in the universals. The study of grammar was therefore limited for a long time on the languages ​​of the Bible, the Latin and, to a lesser extent, also in Hebrew and Greek ( Eco 1997). But much of the discussion concerned mainly semantic aspects and their theological implications. Because the grammar is first and foremost regarded as a liberal propaedeutic of the Bible hermeneutics as the other Artes. Only with Luther's translation of the Bible and the Age of Reformation split at the fixation on Latin.

Grammars in modern times

While the focus of interest in the Middle Ages still preferred in semantic questions, sat down with the study of Sanskrit by Friedrich Schlegel and Franz Bopp and with the discovery of the Indo-European languages ​​again grammatical interests and conventionalist and relativist positions by.

From the beginning of comparative linguistics developed the 20th century Ferdinand de Saussure 's theory of language as a synchronous system, which is the basis of the structuralist linguistics of the 20th century. Without influences from the philology emerged through the work of George Boole and Gottlob Frege at the same time, the first formal systems that tried to break away from the styles in a particular language.

A classification of such formal languages ​​and their underlying grammars developed by Noam Chomsky. This grammars of a certain type produce within the Chomsky hierarchy exactly the sentences and expressions of a language that is recognized by a particular artist, and they generate all the sentences and expressions that can be detected. Performers are in such cases a formal grammar abstract computing machines from automata theory. Such formal grammars, particularly context- free grammar are used in computer science in research on compilers and interpreters. But also in the philosophy and theory of science find such languages ​​use, as well as in research fields of descriptive grammar.

Descriptive grammars differ from formal grammars in that they arise from an empirical research approach. They deal with natural languages ​​, which are generally more expressive power is awarded. The linguist only inspects a certain amount of phrases and sentences that belong to a language. Criterion that certain phrases and sentences belonging to a language, especially their occurrence in written language and literature can be, but also the acceptance of the terms in a language community. Then it tries to generate these terms by rules. The completeness of the declared phenomena is in contrast to an economic principle of simplicity.

Rather, rule-governed, on the syntax -based grammars that require as few assumptions and rules are mainly resulting from Chomsky's generative grammar Government and Binding Theory and the Minimalist Program. Extensions purely syntactic rules by semantic can be found in the Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar, and in the Unifikationsgrammatiken, such as the Head -driven Phrase Structure Grammar or the lexical- functional grammar. Semantic approaches that work mainly with structures of lexical entries, are the Dependenzgrammatiken and grammar Richard Montague.