Eighteenth-century Female English Grammar Writers: Their ‘Critical’ Voice in the Prefaces to Their Grammars

Dolores Fernández Martínez


The eighteenth century was a crucial period in the history of English grammar writing. The purpose of this study is to carry out a critical discourse analysis on the prefaces of some English grammars written for schools by female English grammar-writers. In a male-dominated context of grammar production, prefaces turned into strategic instruments which allowed female grammarians to make their voices heard. By examining identification systems (Martin 1992) and transitivity structures (Halliday 2004), this study will illustrate the discourse patterns employed by female grammarians to exercise authority and to produce a persuasive effect on the reader.


critical discourse analysis; systemic functional grammar; English grammars; eighteenth century

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