Monday, 16 January 2012

The Stickler for the Rules...

On this day...Antonio de Nebrija presented the first Spanish grammar book to Queen Isabella I in 1492. Since compared to names such as Erasmus, de Nebrija, who later latinized his name to 'Aelius Antonius Nebrissensis', had dedicated his life to furthering classical education is his native land.

His 'Gramatica de la lengua castellena', which was the first book to study the rules of a Western European language other than Latin, was split into four books: Orthography, Prosody and syllables, Etymology and diction, and Syntax. A fifth book aided those learning Castillian as a foreign language.

Upon presenting the book to the queen, she is said to have asked, 'Why would I want a work like this? I already know the language.' Nebrija reportedly answered, 'Majesty, the language is the instrument of the empire'

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