Grammars and the community

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The audience for a grammatical description is an important consideration for anyone involved in descriptive linguistics. Potential grammar users include linguists, the interested public, and members of the communities in which the language is spoken. An awareness of the target audiences is necessary in shaping the grammar to meet varying needs. It might, for example, affect the choice of topics to be discussed, the organization and style of the presentation, the depth of detail to include, the use of technical terminology, and the nature of exemplification. It is not yet clear whether one grammar can serve all potential audiences and purposes. Whether it can or not, however, there is a good chance that any grammar will eventually be pressed into service for more than one. This paper offers some suggestions based on the author's experience with Mohawk communities situated in Quebec, Ontario, and New York State.


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