Grammar in Wonderland | OUPblog

Lewis Carroll was a mathematically-inclined poet who published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 and Through the Looking-Glass in 1872 as well a number of poems and math and logic texts. Last summer I saw an outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland and it reminded me of all the linguistics in the two books. Carroll touches on questions of homophony, meaning, reference, syntax, pragmatics, and ambiguity in Alice’s various interactions or imaginings in her Wonderland.

Puns abound, as when the Mouse tells his story to Alice:

“Mine is a long and a sad tale!” said the Mouse, turning to Alice, and sighing.

“It is a long tail, certainly,” said Alice, looking down with wonder at the Mouse’s tail; “but why do you call it sad?”
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