First vernacular grammars

Through metalinguistic publications vernaculars acquired the status of official languages. Between 1437 and 1586 the first grammars of Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German and English were written, though not always immediately published. It is to be understood that the first vestiges of those languages preceded their standardization by up to several hundred years. [edit]Irish grammar Auraicept na n-Eces is a grammar of the Irish language which is thought to date back as far as the 7th century: the earliest surviving manuscripts are 12th century. [edit]Welsh grammar The so-called Grammar Books of the Master-poets (W.: Gramadegau'r Penceirddiaid) are considered to have been composed in the early fourteenth century, and are present in manuscripts from soon after. These tractates draw on the traditions of the Latin grammars of Donatus and Priscianus and also on the teaching of the professional Welsh poets. The tradition of grammars of the Welsh Language developed from these through the Middle Ages and to the Renaissance.[11] [edit]Italian grammar Italian appears before standardization as the lingua Italica of Isidore and the lingua vulgaris of subsequent medieval writers. Documents of mixed Latin and Italian are known from the 12th century, which appears to be the start of writing in Italian.[12] The first known grammar of a Romance language was a book written in manuscript form by Leon Battista Alberti between 1437 and 1441 and entitled Grammatica della lingua toscana, "Grammar of the Tuscan Language" In it Alberti sought to demonstrate that the vernacular Ц here Tuscan, known today as modern Italian Ц was every bit as structured as Latin; He did so by mapping vernacular structures onto Latin. The book was never printed until 1908. It was not generally known, but it was known, as an inventory of the library of Lorenzo de'Medici lists it under the title Regule lingue fl rentine ("Rules of the Florentine language"). The only known manuscript copy, however, is included in the codex, Reginense Latino 1370, located at Rome in the Vatican library. It is therefore called the Grammatichetta vaticana.[13] More influential perhaps were the 1516 Regole grammaticali della volgar lingua of Giovanni Francesco Fortunio and the 1525 Prose della vulgar lingua of Pietro Bembo. In those works the authors strove to establish a dialect that would qualify for becoming the Italian national language. Spanish grammar Spanish, more accurately la lengua castellana, has a development chronologically similar to that of Italian: some vocabulary in Isidore of Seville, traces afterward, writing from about the 12th century, standardization beginning in the 15th century, coincident with the rise of Castile as an international power.[15] The first Spanish grammar by Antonio de Nebrija (Tratado de gramatica sobre la lengua Castellana, 1492) was divided into parts for native and nonnative speakers, pursuing a different purpose in each: Books 1Ц4 describe the Spanish language grammatically in order to facilitate the study of Latin for its Spanish speaking readers. Book 5 contains a phonetical and morphological overview of Spanish for nonnative speakers. For more details on this topic, see History of Spanish. [edit]French grammar French emerged as a Gallo-Romance language from Vulgar Latin in the late antiquity period. The written language is known from at least as early as the 9th century. That language contained many forms still identifiable as Latin. Interest in standardizing French began in the 16th century.[16] Because of the Norman conquest of England and the Anglo-Norman domains in both northwestern France and Britain, English scholars retained an interest in the fate of French as well as of English. Some of the numerous 16th-century surviving grammars are as follows.