Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What is now lofty jargon was once schoolboy slang

I didn't know this:

Parsing is a venerable method for teaching inflected languages like Latin; the word itself is schoolboy slang derived from pars orationis, Latin for “a part of speech.”

From an interesting article (no, really) on the history of diagramming sentences.


TC said...

When I was in the 8th grade in a fairly small jr high they didn't have enough art classes to have a full time art teacher so they assigned the art teacher to teach a class in grammar. She didn't know grammar that well herself, so what she did was get a book of sentences that were diagramed and she'd write about 10 of them on the board each day. We would spend the whole hour diagraming those sentences and at the end of the hour she'd put the diagrams on the board. Every day, all day five days a week for the whole semester. Years later when I took the PSAT tests for college entrance, I scored in the top 3 percent in the country in English grammar. I attribute that in large part to all those hundreds of sentences we had to diagram. A part of the credit goes to studying a foreign language as well. It is said that foreign language teachers always score higher than English teachers on grammar tests. I'm all for learning to diagram a sentence and for learning a foreign language as well.

Brendan Keefe said...

Pretty much everything I know about grammar came from taking French, yes.

I think I might have been exposed to sentence diagramming in 8th grade, too, but the only thing I remember about English that year was that for some reason, I really did not like the teacher.