Glamorous grammar

The word ‘glamour’ may be the most glamorous misspelling in the history of the English language. Its origin is an alteration of the word ‘grammar’ in the medieval sense of grammar as the science/language of magic and the occult.

Glamour, grammar, let’s be grammorous about it. It’s a kind of magic.

To be glamorous is to be enchanting, in a way that matter gets transformed by the power of magical language.

Grammar is fundamentally magical. With speech, every human masters the rules of grammar, applying them in any situation. This doesn’t mean every human understands the rules or is able to give an articulate account of them. But language is natural to us and language means grammar, the underlying architecture which allows us to share it with others in speech communication. If you think about it, it’s pretty glamourous and magical. Using something we don’t necessarily understand to the effect that we can transform ourselves and others. Words have the power to move mountains, and we have the power over those words. It’s like alchemy.

Grammar is not the boring thing we do at school – at least in those schools that still teach grammar. Grammar is the fundamental structure of language, the blueprint of its rules and usages. It is the pixel in the image, the image or gramma behind the letter. It puts the gram in Instagram, which is nothing more than an instant camera lens focused on the speech captured in the telegram. And to think that grammar might be universal, as Noam Chomsky has argued, is mind-blowing. Truly glamorous.

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