Matthews (2019) What Graeco-Roman Grammar Was About

Somehow in the business of the 2019, I missed this intriguing release from Oxford University Press:

Matthews, P. H. 2019. What Graeco-Roman Grammar Was About. Oxford: Oxford University Press (Amazon Link).

From the Publisher:

This book explains how the grammarians of the Graeco-Romance world perceived the nature and structure of the languages they taught. The volume focuses primarily on the early centuries AD, a time when the Roman Empire was at its peak; in this period, a grammarian not only had a secure place in the ancient system of education, but could take for granted an established technical understanding of language. By delineating what that ancient model of grammar was, P. H. Matthews highlights both those aspects that have persisted to this day and seem reassuringly familiar, such as ‘parts of speech’, as well as those aspects that are wholly dissimilar to our present understanding of grammar and language. The volume is written to be accessible to students of linguistics from undergraduate level upwards, and assumes no knowledge of Latin or Ancient Greek.

  • Highlights the similarities and differences between the Graeco-Roman approach and current approaches.
  • Draws on the most significant grammatical texts from the early centuries AD.
  • Written to be accessible to students of linguistics with no knowledge of Latin or Ancient Greek.

P. H. Matthews is an experienced and highly respected linguist with a strong background in Latin and Greek as well. He’s written some of my favorite books on linguistic historiography, as well as morphology. His (1993) monograph, Grammatical Theory in the United States: From Bloomfield to Chomsky, is essential reading for understanding the context of the development of linguistic theory in America and his (1976) monograph, Inflectional Morphology: A Theoretical Study Based on Aspects of Latin Verb Conjugation, is an important touch point for the development of morphological theory on highly synthetic languages like Latin & Greek, in many ways paving the way for the Word-Paradigm theories of inflection. Lastly, Matthews’ (2014) book, The Positions of Adjectives in English, would make for an excellent methodological starting point for someone writing a thesis on adjective word order in Ancient Greek.

I look forward to picking up and reading this most recent work.