Ethical Grammar: How Medieval Grammarians Can Help Us Enact Translingual Approaches to Grammar Education




Holder, Juliette

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This presentation will explore the medieval approach to grammar and its connection to ethical thought, relying on texts produced by medieval grammarians, noting how these thinkers link the study of grammar to ethical development. Once that foundation is set, I give an overview of more current research on grammar instruction (particularly in FYC classrooms), paying special attention to the emphasis on translingualism. Scholars have taken a more critical eye to formal instruction in Standard American English for the ways it upholds oppressive power structures. In bringing these conversations together, I hope to tease out some implications for how grammar and grammar instruction might serve as a way to exercise, and not just talk about, ethics. While our judgments about what the “ethical” things to do may have, in some ways, shifted, grammar and grammar instruction may still be a useful tool for studying, identifying, and responding to systems of power.