While it is undoubtedly true that there is a grammar of spoken English, the problem is, could it be codifed and documented when it is so fluid and intangible?
"A thorough description of spoken English grammar is felt to be overdue. After all, spoken language has largely been neglected by grammatical tradition; the word grammar itself descends from the classical Greek word for writing. The grammarian's bias towards the written language remains strong today, and is reflected in such terminology as 'left dislocation' and 'right dislocation' in referring to grammatical transformations. To understand these terms, we have to think of a sentence as immobile and visible on the page, like a laboratory specimen, rather than as an ongoing phenomenon of speech. Morever, discrimination in favour of the written sentence, in grammars, has to some extent been reinforced by the advent of computer corpora, simply because until very recently corpora of spoken language have not been available in sufficient quantity and coverage."
From: Geoffrey Leech [PDF]
Categories: Grammar Topics