Additional Resources

Statue of King Alfred the Great

Statue of King Alfred the Great in Wantage, Oxfordshire, England (photo by Philip Jelley)

On this page you will find links to additional materials relating to functional linguistics, English Grammar, and communicative language learning and teaching. Please bookmark this page, and check it often for updates. If you would like to be notified when items are added, please "like" the Understanding English Grammar Facebook Page (requires Facebook login). Also, please do recommend additional material via the Facebook page.

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Material by Tom Payne that supplements chapters in Understanding English Grammar.

Click the titles below to view the material in .pdf format (you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system to view these files):

Noun complements vs. post-nominal modifiers. This is an expansion on Chapters 9 and 10. In these chapters the difference between the syntactic functions of Complementation and Modification are illustrated in verb phrases. In this reading, the same distinction (really, a continuum) is illustrated in noun phrases.

The “real” story about quantifier float. This is an expansion on Chapter 10, section 10.1 (pages 229-43). Read about the historical source of Predeterminer Quantifiers and the phenomenon of “Quantifier Float”.

The Two be's of English. This is an expansion on Chapter 11, section 11.4 (pages 268-74). Here you will find additional evidence that “copular be” is an auxiliary rather than a lexical verb. Comments welcome!

Online resources

Click the titles below to view online material that may be of interest. Please let me know if you come across other online gems:

50 years of Stupid Grammar Advice. Geoff Pullum is probably my favorite writer on English language and linguistics. His co-authored Cambridge Grammar of English is a massive work that is cited often in Understanding English Grammar. While stereotypical "grammar experts" tend to repeat often false and unfounded prescriptions concerning proper and improper usage, Pullum looks at the way people actually use language, and provides concrete evidence for his claims. In this entertaining and elightening article, Pullum takes on one of the most revered and uncritically admired publications in the field of English grammar and usage: Strunk and White's Elements of Style.

Language is learned. This article by Aya Katz is a very readable and fascinating account of how people learn language. Professor Katz discusses well-known examples of individuals who received brain injuries, or were deprived of linguistic or sensory input still were able to master the system of contrasts that constitutes human language.

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). This is the definitive website if you are looking for advice regarding how to improve your writing. It includes guidelines on Contemporary Standard American English grammar, style, formatting, avoiding plagiarism, etc.

Remarks by Noam Chomsky in London. The only linguist many people have ever heard of is Noam Chomsky. His work has had, and continues to have, great influence in the field of linguistics, and he is probably even more well known for his outspoken political philosophy. However, Chomsky is not finished with linguistics yet. He recently gave a linguistics lecture in London, which is reported on by our friend Geoff Pullum at this link.

Whorfian economics reconsidered: Why future tense?The "Whorfian" view is that the structure of ones language determines the structure of thought, culture and other aspects of behavior. Periodically articles appear in the popular press that purport to prove this hypothesis. However, under closer scrutiny, such claims always prove to be unsupported. Here is a very good article discussing a paper that has received some visibility in the press lately.