About a week ago I picked up a copy of The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric....Understanding the Nature and Function of Language.
And since my job right now is to grab you (the reader's) attention I will dive right in.
1. Society is absorbed, saturated with rhetoric. That is, everybody has an opinion, an argument to state but the two classic subjects that are intended to be taught before one makes rhetorical arguments, grammar and logic, are in very short supply.
2. Grammar in this context does not just mean the dry description of words, sentences...the ability to figure out what is a run-on sentence or what is the correct use of the word "however".
In classical education grammar is the first subject taught and it is simply an education about the nuts and bolts of how language works. Before logic(if A then B) and way before rhetoric (the ways we use language to prove a point) we need to know the essence of the tool we are using and in this case the tool is language, words.
I would love other forum members to drop by this thread and add whatever questions, ideas, information...
The author, now deceased, Sister Miriam Joseph writes in the book that grammar can be thought of as tasting a book; logic can be thought of as eating the book and rhetoric as digesting it.
That is, if you are reading a non-fiction book the first way of getting familiar with the book, and its premises and arguments, is to understand how terms, words, sentences, verbs, paragraphs are used.
Then logic helps you see the larger arguments being made by the words, sentences, paragraphs. If A then B but not C if A.
And the rhetoric of the book is how the author uses language to prove his points or illustrate his thesis. You can write "The President resigned because of a secret exposed by his brother" in many many different ways. And each way would lend it a slightly different meaning. Rhetoric is the study of how this occurs in a piece of writing.
I guess the difference between how we are usually taught grammar and what grammar means in this case is that usually we really are not given much info as to why this is important to understand. But in this book grammar is directly connected to how we want to express our ideas, emotions...We are not learning the difference between a transitive and intransitive verb just because we should know that. We must learn it because the essence of a verb that has an object is fundamentally different then a verb (an action) that does not have a direct object. We are learning the philosophy of grammar...the meaning of the rules so that we are able to use them well.
Anyway, I will stop now and...well...the floor is open.