Port Royal Grammar

The Port-Royal Grammar (originally Grammaire générale et raisonnée contenant les fondemens de l'art de parler, expliqués d'une manière claire et naturelle, "General and Rational Grammar, containing the fundamentals of the art of speaking, explained in a clear and natural manner") was a pioneering work in the philosophy of language. Published in 1660 by Antoine Arnauld and Claude Lancelot, it was the linguistic counterpart to the Port-Royal Logic (1662), both named after the Port Royal Jansenist monastery near Paris, where their authors worked. The Grammar was heavily influenced by the philosophy of René Descartes. It has been seen as historically siginificant in the history of linguistics, and promoted most notably by Noam Chomsky in his book on Cartesian Linguistics, when he was making his case for transformational grammar.

The central argument of the Port Royal Grammar is that grammatical rules are mental in origin, and inborn, and universal.

Barnard, Howard (1913). The little schools of Port Royal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on May 30, 2010 from http://books.google.com/books?id=938WAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Schools+Port+Royal&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Miel, Jan (1969). Pascal, Port-Royal, and Cartesian linguistics. Journal of the History of Ideas, 30, 261-271.

Rieux, Jacques and Rollin, Bernard E. (1975). General and rational grammar: The Port-Royal Grammar. The Hague: Mouton.