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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

What is grammar? What is grammatical? Who decides? And how? This course will explore different approaches to grammar, from the layperson’s to the linguist’s, and how these impact society and the study of language. We will evaluate and experiment with methods for judging grammaticality, giving students greater insight into this essential but difficult to pin down concept.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Elspeth Edelstein

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Language And Linguistics (LN)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course will examine different approaches to defining what is ‘grammar’ and how we determine what is ‘grammatical’. We will consider the impact of prescriptive notions of grammar in terms of society at large and linguistic study more specifically, examining how they overlap with and diverge from descriptive notions of grammar. As part of this exploration we will also discuss and test different means of measuring grammaticality, from introspection to corpus searches.

 By the end of this course students will:

  • be able to define the differences between prescriptive and descriptive notions of grammar
  • have an understanding of how grammaticality fits into different aspects of linguistic study
  • be familiar with and able to employ a number of methods for assessing grammaticality

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Essay (2,000 words): 60%, Individual Report: 30%, Seminar Assessment: 10%


Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written and oral feedback

Course Learning Outcomes


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