Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||'Correct' language in pre-literate societies|
Is there any concept of ''correct'' language in pre-literate societies
where spoken communication must be understood as a series of
sounds rather than words? Is there any concept of grammar, even if
only on an instinctive level?
Investigation into dialect grammar shows that speakers often have clear ideas of grammatical structure beyond what is taught in school. There are several notorious cases of case forms in Mainland Scandinavian dialects being used in a consequent and systematic way by speakers who had no concept of the grammatical structure of the forms.Most impressive is the case of Övdalian, a vernacular spoken in north-west Dalecarlia. Usually it is held to be a dialect of Swedish, but in reality it features a full three-case system with the nouns, whereas Standard Swedish as taught in the schools has no serious inflection of nouns, except a genitive 's, which does not qualify as a case ending proper. (Övdalian on its part has no genitive proper at all.) Similar cases can be found all over the area.
|Reply From:||Henrik Joergensen click here to access email|