The Joy of Syntax and the Zen of Grammar Practice

Connecting Learning with Life, Love, Laughter, Language, and Literature. A Timeless Gourmet Guide to the Structures that enable Words to enter into Meaningful Relationships

by Friderike Hirsch-Wright


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Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 1/23/2017

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.5x11
Page Count : 476
ISBN : 9781504304849
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 476
ISBN : 9781504304856

About the Book

When E. E. Cummings talks about “the deepest secret nobody knows,” he is talking about love and how love keeps the world, the cosmos even, from falling apart. Here is another “deepest secret nobody knows”: Studying grammar can be very enjoyable and life-enriching, and it is vital for every human earthling who wants to think and vote. Why is studying grammar important? Because language is all-powerful and because language is controlled by grammar – by syntax, to be more precise.

Although syntax is at the heart of all that matters in human affairs, this book doesn’t want to be (nor can it be) a definitive study of English syntax. Nor does it want to reveal “truth.” Instead, the book invites you to go on a journey, to enter a process, to become aware of your dynamic relationship with language and life.

While this book is an invitation to a journey, it’s also a snapshot view of an ongoing dance. And it’s a hands-on map of English syntax, a collection of overviews of many important syntactic structures, and a bridge connecting basic grammar with reading, perceiving, thinking, feeling, writing, real life, literature – and joy. The book wants to make the topics of syntax and style accessible and enjoyable to whoever wants to spend time with them.

Friderike designed a color-parsing method that can be a helpful and enjoyable tool for analyzing the simplest and the most complex of sentences and styles. This method helps join intuitive, creative, and cognitive processes, making it easier for us to sort out what’s happening in sentences and texts and what kinds of reading they require from us. It is suited to meet the needs of beginners and pros.

The book was designed as a one-semester course, which takes the reader from basic sentences that are as easy as “I love you” to the complexities of E.E. Cummings and Faulkner.


About the Author

At the age of sixteen, Friderike Hirsch-Wright suddenly and unexpectedly fell in love with English. For the past 35 years, she has been studying the English language and its literatures with enthusiasm and deep joy. She studied 'English Language and Literature' programs at four universities (two German and two American) before getting an M.A. in British and American Literature from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

For the past 16 years, she has been teaching English at a variety of schools and institutions to a great range of students of all ages and all backgrounds. For 13 of those years, she was an undergraduate lecturer at RWTH Aachen University, teaching English grammar, pronunciation, critical reading, and writing. Since 2006, one of her passions has been understanding and teaching English syntax. Her book is the product of ten years of scholarship and teaching in that field.

Friderike believes that learning, writing about, and teaching languages can all be part of the same endeavor – the process, journey, and goal of gaining self-understanding and awareness, finding what makes you come alive, unfolding your human potential, and making peace with yourself and other beings.

Friderike lives with her two sons and her fur baby Rudolph the Black-Nosed Canine in Aachen, a German city bordering the Netherlands and Belgium. Studying and teaching English are her passion, her profession, and her hobby. Reading and writing about syntax are her Zen. Friderike is deeply committed to veganism, animal rights, and pacifism, and she is very enthusiastic about healthy nutrition and music.