A typology of good grammars

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Writing a grammar is an exhilarating and exhausting experience. All grammars must meet high expectations. This paper reports on a study of qualities sought in grammars based on a survey of reviews of grammars. The study reveals that linguists expect a grammar to be comprehensive, clear, and accessible to all. It should also contain careful argumentation and a wealth of data that is appropriate, authentic, and meticulously checked. Writers of grammars must ask themselves a variety of questions before they begin, including what the goal of the grammar is, who the audience for the grammar is, how much time there is to write the grammar, and what the language reveals about its grammar. The paper then discusses and evaluates specific examples of good grammars of various types.


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