This section explores two important themes in the theory and teaching of grammar: the so-called ablative absolute and the ‘habit’ of etymology. The grammatical description of ablative absolute was characterised by two main features: the use of Greek as a constant foil and the framework of the parts of speech (the words-and-accidents model). The term ‘absolute’ now specifically reflects the absence of regimen, which was associated in the thirteenth century with commentary practice on Priscian. Etymology was a persuasive pedagogical instrument, serving both heuristic and mnemonic functions. In rhetoric it was part of inventio and served memoria. This section focuses on the consistency of intellectual methods across various language disciplines and critical purposes during the Middle Ages.
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