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As mentioned in previous posts, in fact English was a language that simply evolved and grew over time, starting in the North east of Europe and eventually making its way down to the England that we know today, and of course the English we know today. Still English is changing and evolving. But how did the actual grammar start and why.
How did ‘grammar’ start?
Well, as far as scholars know, it really wasn’t until the fall of the Roman Empire that the idea of grammar entered the scene. It really emerged from the use of Latin, as scholars felt that they needed some kind of regular pattern in the language so that they could teach it more clearly. So ‘grammar’ was born through Latin.
Also at this point in history the use of ‘written agreements’ was more popular, so when someone signed something, there needed to be a clear universal understanding of what was written and agreed upon. This tightened up the whole idea of grammar, and rules were set in place.
So what about English grammar?
Well of course during the Roman Empire, Latin was the universal language, particularly for the upper classes, and English was only for the lower classes, and because the lower classes tended to be illiterate, there really was no need to grammatic-ize it, so it took quite some time for English to be considered a language to be analysed in a grammatical way.
It really wasn’t until London grew in size and English became the language of choice by the government that grammar became important. But really it wasn’t until the 15th Century when the printing press was invented in London that grammar rules became absolutely necessary. This is when information became disseminated more quickly and widely and so the true meaning of the sentence needed to be universalised. This is when everything changed.
What were the problems?
Of course during this time, as English had been a language spoken without question, there were many different types of English, and so to put the grammar to it was very difficult an there were many disagreements on the correct usage and grammar. The battle went on for hundreds of years in fact and only really became solidified through the most ‘common usage’.
…and what about today?
Even today there are some grammatical issues still left unsolved depending on if you want to use American English grammar or English English grammar. As this language is a living thing, it will always be growing and changing, so people need to always be aware and opt for the common usage in their area.