English language glossary terms

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Covertly prestigious
a dialect which is generally frowned upon, but well respected in a particular situation e.g. slang "multi-cultural london"
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dialect of a region; usually has low status relative to 'standard-grammar' "Jamaican English"
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RP... Received Prounciation
Spoken standard-English -- only spoken by 2% of the British population
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changing the way you speak to match the person you are speaking to
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how different people use the same language usually divided by region -- it can be divided into: lexis, grammar, pronunciation e.g Liverpudlian -- dialectal island
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restricted lexis/specific language used generally in a profession or between a group of people -- it requires inside knowledge -- used and understood by a minority -- often formal lexis e.g medical language
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new word/lexis being formed e.g. Brexit, iWatch, WiFi, streaming, pwned
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parts of words joining up to form a new word e.g. "smog" - smoke and fog, "brunch" - breakfast and lunch
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an attitude to language change; opposition to language change -- viewing current/one type of English as superior to all others -- linguistic purism -- informally a stickler e.g simon heffer
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an attitude to language change; language change a natural process -- always has and will change -- no English is better than another -- language defined by what people do with it e.g. simon pinker - toga quote
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Romance languages
a family of languages all with Latin as the parent language i.e the root of the languages is Vulgar Latin (common Latin) e.g. Italian, French, Spanish -- Latin was spoken language of the Romans -- Latin spread because of their empire
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Germanic languages
family of languages with Anglo-Saxon roots e.g. English, German, Dutch
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Language families will:
have many similarities in their lexis, grammar, syntax
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Parent language
the root of a language
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Daughter language
a language that has been derived from a parent language
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use of a prefix or a suffix on a word
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an English word no longer in use that meant the study and/or treatment of mental health -- it was possibly insulting (connotations)
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an English word no longer used to describe a man who is aware and tolerating of his wife's infidelity -- reflects social change
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Latinate lexis
words of a Latin root -- usually common in formal writing -- formal lexis. multisyllabic Latinate words: e.g. legislative. english is a cobination of anglo(saxons) +french(norman) as well as norse and now many other influences
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Words beginning with 'ps'
usually of Greek origin -- time of scientific invention and development as well as increased philosophical growth -- reflect knowledge, power, status, formality, text producers purpose and background e.g. psychology
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Low frequency lexis
uncommonly used words e.g. "rambunctious", "rogue" , "thine"
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the study of the derivation of words
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Inkhorn terms:
foreign borrowing of words which were frowned upon by scholars as they were believed to be infecting the language and were viewed as unnecessary and pretentious during the renaissance -- Latin influence
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deliberate creation of a new word
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words/concepts imitated from another language which become anglicised e.g "cliche", "liaise"
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words combined to create a new word e.g. "sunflower" , "football", "earthquake"
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words shortened to form a new word e.g. "sitcom", "photo", "influenza", "gymnasium"
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first letters of a phrase, saying, company name, etc which become a new word e.g. "AIDS", "FIFA"
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the same as an acronym but each letter is said e.g. "HIV", "EU", "LFC"
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Functional shift/Conversion
when a word changes class -- usually a noun to a verb e.g. google
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a name of a person or company used to describe an object e.g. hoover
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Back formation
a sub-type of clipping -- removing an affix to create a new word e.g. babysit from babysitter -- the morpheme 'er' (a suffix) is removed
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two parts of words to create a new word -- often the two original words are related to the new word
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semantic change e.g. amelioration and pejoration
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making language the same -- spelling, grammar etc -- creating a 'correct' form -- Caxton's printing press an initial cause along with social consensus -- Samuel Johnson in 1755 helped to standardise spelling in his dictionary of English Language
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Phonetic alphabet
symbols to describe each sound in the English language
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two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling (e.g. new and knew or two, to and too).
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a word that shares the same written form as another word but has a different meaning -- there is some debate about if they must be pronounced differently. E.g.
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written or spoken language in its ordinary form -- clear, straightforward language -- not in a particular rhythmic fashion. Standard.
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Definite article
'the' before singular and plural nouns -- they signify a known thing e.g 'the shop' is specific (context necessary)
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Indefinite article
'a...an' -- signifies an unknown thing e.g. 'a shop' could be any
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Split infinitive
generally frowned upon by purists/prescriptivists -- the common grammar form of an infinitive 'to go' originates from LatinBUTthe infinitive is one word (essentially they say you can't split a word in Latin, so don't split the equivalent in English)
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Subordinate clauses
a clause, typically introduced by a conjunction, that forms part of and is dependent on a main clause (e.g. ‘when it rang’ in ‘she answered the phone when it rang’)
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Sentence mood/function
imperative, interrogative, declarative
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Sentence type
minor, simple, compound, complex, compound-commplex
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theoretical and practical aspects of language. Practical:writing, editing, compiling dictionaries. Theoretical: analysing, describing semantic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships between a lexicon of a language
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branch of linguistics; meanings; sense, pragmatics, implication, reference (logical semantics) and analysis of word meanings and their relations (lexical semantics)
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pragmatics in semantics
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relationship between two linguistic units used sequentially to make well-formed structures
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relationship between a set of linguistic items that form mutually exclusive choices in particular syntactic roles. Contrasting to syntagmatic.
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examine methodically, in detail, in order to explain and interpret
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Parts of language change
history of English, semantic change, lexical change, grammatical change, orthographic change, attitudes, reasons
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spellings, their origin etc
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Jean Aitchison was...
professor of language at Oxford
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Jean Aitchison(1)
she was a descriptivist -- believed in"liberty within limits" -- believed change differs from decay --over 100 years ago linguists discovered different styles, but no part of language is bad
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Jean Aitchison(2)
during 1800s Latin was admired for its fixed state (+ people tried to make English similar despite fundamental phonological differences) -- in1712Jonathon Swift urged for the creation of a language academy to formalise language (like the French have)
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Jean Aitchison(3)
some rules must be obeyed for clarity e.g. verb positioning...in English it's in the middle, in Welsh it goes in the beginning -- this must remain to avoid miscommunication
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Jean Aitchison (4)
double negation is not technically wrong, years of social stigma has prevented its use -- in some languages it is used for stronger negation -- logic dictating language is illogical
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Jean Aitchison(5)
etiquette, morals and language are confused
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Jean Aitchison(6) -- the three metaphors for prescriptivism
"damp spoon", "crumbling castle", "infectious disease"
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"damp spoon"
sloppiness and laziness causes language change, too lazy to change the spoon.But the (1)glottal stop e.g. requires a lot of muscular tension, (2)drunk speech differs from normal language change and (3)omitting words means more words per second.
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"crumbling castle"
views English as something that must be preserved and change is destructive and disrespectful. But: (1)lang never reached a point of perfection--changesTOimprove,(2)when did it beginTOdecline?And flexibility is an advantage--neatening e.g. graffito"
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"infectious disease"
as if you "catch" changes, should fight them, but people use language as they want to -- often to fit in. Social contact is often a predisposition for change as it speeds up the inevitable change
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Neatening -- remove inconsistencies
changing words to follow the general pattern. As English has a lot of borrowed words neatening occurs for clarity. E.g. shoen to shoes(plurals usually end in an 's' in English)and"graffito"which is Italian for scribbles--now use singular "graffiti"
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Willian Caxton...
introduced the printing press from Flanders in 1476) in an attempt to standardise spelling among other things. Based language on the East Midlands dialect meaning things ere spelt how they're pronounced there which is different to other dialects
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Robert Lowth...
wrote a short introduction on English Grammar (1762) -- he based English grammar on Latin grammar despite their key differences. Historical context: 'infatuation' with Latin
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Preposition stranding
Lowth said to end a sentence with a preposition is inappropriate in formal writing
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'Thou' or 'You'
after the Norman conquest of 1066 there was a French influence on language. Historically 'thou' was intimate/informal and 'you' was formal. This changed. And there was a grammatical change: 'thou' was singular, 'you' plural. 'You' took over, 'thou'..
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'thou' etc... continued...
...assumed to be formal
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Language changes because(1)
social changes, changing attitudes (LBGT) and chair(man) to avoid sexism, rise on teenagers as a social group
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Language changes because(2)
political : world wars , travel -- increased social contact 'thou' and 'you'
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Language changes because(3)
technological - tv , social media easy for words to catch on -- americansisms , youth patois, rise of hollywood 1940s-50s (americanisms)
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changing the way you speak for ease of articulation e.g. "ten pounds" to "tempounds" and "hand-bag" to "hambag"
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Random fluctuation
when accidental errors become the norm -- "owned" to "pwned" -- gaming technology
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Functional theory
words are created as and when needed -- language changes to suit its need. Words also drop out e.g. vinyl
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Lexical gaps
words are created to "fill gaps". This allows us to ponder the future of language change
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S-curve model
the idea that language change reflects an s shape curve. It begins slowly affecting few people but then begins to accelerate as it becomes more common and accepted in language and then slows down once it becomes fully integrated and widely used
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Wave model (Baliey 1973)
metaphor: earthquake affects people closest -- relating o language change it is used by social contact...so middle class folk from Edinborough are unlikely to pickup language used by multicultural London youths
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What was the first ever language debate?
Inkhorn controversy
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What centuries could be considered middle English?
Middle English (ME) refers to the dialects of the English language spoken in parts of the British Isles after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century
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What origin of words tend to be shorter in length
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Anglo-Saxon influence
many nouns and propositions remain from Anglo-Saxon English (Old English). Easy to see why -- backbones of English unlikely to be totally altered
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Factors affecting the history of English spelling (extensive notes in folder)
(1) The Roman alphabet and Anglo-Saxon influence, The Norman conquest, Caxton's introduction of the printing press from flanders, the great vowel shift, the renaissance, the first dictionaries
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related words; jargon
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Linguistic engineering
process whereby a group or institution impose a set of artificial words or phrases. Fowler(1926) called it didacticism. "Politically correct" terms. "Chairperson" not "chairman". 20th century phenomenon.
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the science of languages
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Ferdinand de Saussure
the 'Karl Marx' of linguistics. French speaking Swiss linguistic scholar. Established primary distinction between a synchronic approach (seeing language as a state at a particular point in time) and a diachronic (historical) one
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The Language Instinct, Stephen Pinker (1995), descriptivist view
'forcing modern speakers of English...not to split infinitives because it isn't done in Latin makes about as much sense as forcing modern residents of England to wear laurels and togas'
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When writing...
always put yourself in the eyes on the reader...what do they want to read?
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Political stance of major British newspapers
1) Guardian = left wing liberal youthful educated, 2) Telegraph = right wing conservative more elderly 3) The Times = educated wealthy conservative but mixed audience, 4) the I = educated, 5) the Daily Mail = heavily conservative
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International Phonetic Alphabet
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to achieve a high mark there must be explicit comparison and evaluation between the two texts , not separately, there must be analytical comments about both texts in one point -- group ideas together
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Old Norse
Words of Old Norse origin have entered the English language, primarily from the contact between Old Norse and Old English during colonisation of eastern and northern England between the mid 9th to the 11th centuries.
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Old Norse
Many of these words are part of English core vocabulary, such as egg or knife. Good info on Norse :https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/139-norse-words
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Card 2


dialect of a region; usually has low status relative to 'standard-grammar' "Jamaican English"



Card 3


Spoken standard-English -- only spoken by 2% of the British population


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Card 4


changing the way you speak to match the person you are speaking to


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


how different people use the same language usually divided by region -- it can be divided into: lexis, grammar, pronunciation e.g Liverpudlian -- dialectal island


Preview of the back of card 5
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