Lesson 1: Definitions of Grammar

A Contextualized Definition

Does the disconnection between oral and written language extend to grammatical topics other than the use of the subjunctive?

Make a list of some possible examples. Then, watch the following segment for a description of one particular example.


Another example of the disconnect between oral and written language.

Duration: 02:15

Revising the Definition of Grammar

There are many contextual factors that determine how grammar is defined. Let us consider how the definition could be revised as a result of these factors.


Revising the definition of grammar.

Duration: 01:03

Contextual factors that are part of a definition of language:

  1. Mode (e.g., written, oral, by phone, by email)
  2. Interlocutors (e.g., age, social class, level of education)
  3. Regional variation (e.g., countries, localities)
  4. Register (e.g., formal, informal, personal)
  5. Genre (e.g,, scientific, journalistic, debate)
  6. Physical-temporal context (e.g., at the bus station, in the morning on a weekday)
  7. Purpose of communication (e.g., to convince, to describe, to chat)

Select one of the contextual factors mentioned in the lecture (other than the oral-written dimension) and think about how it may change the definition of grammar.