Is this sentence grammatically correct? 47
Dispute grammar error - "variant grammar" shows that more is allowed than teachers sometimes think
ZURICH. When teachers put the red pencil in the essay, they are not always right, at least when it comes to supposed grammatical errors. Because many variants are common. To clarify what is allowed and what is not, there is now an online database for which three universities are working together.
“A ship has been sailing between Rorschach and Lindau since the beginning of the month” - for some German ears it should actually be “of the month”, but according to the recently published reference work on grammatical usage in the German language, the sentence is okay. In seven years of work, researchers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have created an online catalog called “variant grammar” that shows which grammatical constructions are common in the German-speaking area.
"When it comes to spelling, there is the Council for German Spelling as the highest authority, but when it comes to grammar, there is no one who decides between right and wrong," said linguist Christa Dürscheid from the University of Zurich.
“At Easter” or “At Easter”?
Does it mean “at Easter” or “at Easter”? «In advance» or «in advance»? Is something installed “ready-made” or are the plans “ready-made”? All of these variants are common in different regions. The researchers also found "because" variants like this: "That's interesting ... because it takes six months." It mainly occurred in direct or indirect quotations, as you note, i.e. in utterances that originally came from the oral language.
The woman from Baden-Württemberg and her colleagues have evaluated thousands of newspaper articles from German-speaking countries. If grammatical constructions and word formation patterns occurred with a certain frequency, they were recorded in the database, which also shows on a map the area in which the variants are common. The focus was on the written language.
Dürscheid came to Switzerland more than 15 years ago and had a key experience when her children came home from school with a letter from their parents. "There is already snow in the Alps," they said, not as it would sound more correct to German ears: "There is already snow in the Alps." "That comes from school, it can't be a mistake," she thought at the time. The parents' letter aroused their interest in research.
"It is a legitimate concern to want to know what is wrong and what is right," says Dürscheid. "But the use of language allows a lot of variation." In other words, grammatical forms that sound wrong to some are used elsewhere. By Christiane Oelrich, dpa
Here it goes to the page of the "variant grammar".
The post will also be discussed on the News4teachers Facebook page.
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