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Grammar    : [gr'æmɚ]
Grammar \Gram"mar\, v. i.
To discourse according to the rules of grammar; to use
grammar. [Obs.] --Beau. & Fl.
[1913 Webster]


Grammar \Gram"mar\, n. [OE. gramere, OF. gramaire, F. grammaire
Prob. fr. L. gramatica Gr ?, fem. of ? skilled in grammar,
fr. ? letter. See {Gramme}, {Graphic}, and cf. {Grammatical},
{Gramarye}.]
1. The science which treats of the principles of language;
the study of forms of speech, and their relations to one
another; the art concerned with the right use and
application of the rules of a language, in speaking or
writing.
[1913 Webster]

Note: The whole fabric of grammar rests upon the classifying
of words according to their function in the sentence.
--Bain.
[1913 Webster]

2. The art of speaking or writing with correctness or
according to established usage; speech considered with
regard to the rules of a grammar.
[1913 Webster]

The original bad grammar and bad spelling.
--Macaulay.
[1913 Webster]

3. A treatise on the principles of language; a book
containing the principles and rules for correctness in
speaking or writing.
[1913 Webster]

4. treatise on the elements or principles of any science; as,
a grammar of geography.
[1913 Webster]

{Comparative grammar}, the science which determines the
relations of kindred languages by examining and comparing
their grammatical forms.

{Grammar school}.
(a) A school, usually endowed, in which Latin and Greek
grammar are taught, as also other studies preparatory
to colleges or universities; as, the famous Rugby
Grammar School. This use of the word is more common in
England than in the United States.
[1913 Webster]

When any town shall increase to the number of a
hundred
families or householders, they shall set up a
grammar school, the master thereof being able to
instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for
the University. --Mass.
Records
(1647).
(b) In the American system of graded common schools, at
one time the term referred to an intermediate school
between the primary school and the high school, in
which the principles of English grammar were taught;
now, it is synonymous with {primary school} or
{elementary school}, being the first school at which
children are taught subjects required by the state
educational laws. In different communities, the
grammar school (primary school) may have grades 1 to
4, 1 to 6, or 1 to 8, usually together with a
kindergarten. Schools between the primary school and
high school are now commonly termed {middle school} or
{intermediate school}.
[1913 Webster PJC]

grammar
n 1: the branch of linguistics that deals with syntax and
morphology (and sometimes also deals with semantics)

83 Moby Thesaurus words for "grammar":
abecedarium, abecedary, alphabet, alphabet book, basics,
battledore, bowwow theory, casebook, choice of words,
comparative linguistics, composition, derivation,
descriptive linguistics, dialect, dialectology, diction,
dingdong theory, elements, etymology, exercise book, expression,
first principles, first steps, formulation, fundamentals,
glossematics, glossology, glottochronology, glottology, gradus,
graphemics, historical linguistics, hornbook, idiom, induction,
language, language study, lexicology, lexicostatistics,
linguistic geography, linguistic science, linguistics, locution,
manual, manual of instruction, mathematical linguistics,
morphology, morphophonemics, outlines, paleography, parlance,
philology, phonetics, phonology, phrase, phraseology, phrasing,
primer, principia, principles, psycholinguistics, reader, rhetoric,
rudiments, schoolbook, semantics, sociolinguistics, speech,
speller, spelling book, structuralism, syntactics, t, talk, text,
transformational linguistics, usage, use of words, usus loquendi,
verbiage, wordage, wording, workbook

A formal definition of the syntactic structure (the
{syntax}) of a language.

A grammar is normally represented as a set of {production
rules} which specify the order of constituents and their
sub-constituents in a {sentence} (a well-formed string in the
language). Each rule has a left-hand side symbol naming a
syntactic category (e.g. "noun-phrase" for a {natural
language} grammar) and a right-hand side which is a sequence
of zero or more symbols. Each symbol may be either a
{terminal symbol} or a non-terminal symbol. A terminal symbol
corresponds to one "{lexeme}" - a part of the sentence with no
internal syntactic structure (e.g. an identifier or an
operator in a computer language). A non-terminal symbol is
the left-hand side of some rule.

One rule is normally designated as the top-level rule which
gives the structure for a whole sentence.

A {parser} (a kind of {recogniser}) uses a grammar to parse a
sentence, assigning a terminal syntactic category to each
input token and a non-terminal category to each appropriate
group of tokens, up to the level of the whole sentence.
Parsing is usually preceded by {lexical analysis}. The
opposite, generation, starts from the top-level rule and
chooses one alternative production wherever there is a choice.

In computing, a formal grammar, e.g. in {BNF}, can be used to
{parse} a linear input stream, such as the {source code} of a
program, into a data structure that expresses the (or a)
meaning of the input in a form that is easier for the computer
to work with. A {compiler compiler} like {yacc} might be used
to convert a grammar into code for the parser of a {compiler}.
A grammar might also be used by a {transducer}, a {translator}
or a {syntax directed editor}.

See also {attribute grammar}.

(2009-02-06)



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