English glossary 2

More of the terminology you need for A2 English Language/Literature :)



Speech or writing produced by a single person.

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A line of verse containing one foot.

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Having one syllable.

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Main clauses can have one of four moods:

1. Declarative mood - is used to make statements

2. Imperative mood - is used to give orders and make requests

3. Interrogative mood - is used to ask questions

4. Exclamative mood - used to express suprise or strong emotion

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Non fluency features

Associated with spontaneous speech - they include fillers and pauses.

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Any variety that doesn't to the standard prestige form used as a norm by society.

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A word class with a naming function which can be used as a subject or object in a clause.

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Noun phrase

A phrase which usually has a noun as the head word and that can function as a subject or object in a clause.

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A line of verse containing eight feet.

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A group of eight lines - either as a stanza, or as the first eight lines of a sonnet. The octave in a sonnet usually rhymes abbaabba.

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The term used to denote words that imitate sounds.

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The use of apparently contradictory words in a phrase (delicious poison).

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A statement which although apparently ridiculous or self-contradictory contains a truth.

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A unit of written discourse made up of sentences, which is marked by either identation or by a blank line before and after it.

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Non-verbal communication using gesture, posture and facial expressions.

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The patterning of pairs of sounds, words or structures to create a sense of balance and logic in spoken and written discourse.

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The expession of the same thing in other words.

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In written language, the use of brackets dashes or commas to mark out an optional element of a sentence.

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Passive voice

A grammatical structure in which the subject and object can change places in order to alter the focus of a sentence. In the passive voice, the object of an active sentence occurs in the subject site followed by to be + past participle (the bone was eaten).

The subject of the active sentence can be included following by (the bone was eaten by the dog).

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Pathetic fallacy

A phrase (invented by John Ruskin in 1856) denoting the technique whereby writers ascribe human feelings to inanimate objects. Closely related to anthropomorphism, apostrophe and personification.

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A line of verse containing five feet (a caesura can occur between the two halves).

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Personal pronouns

Subject pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, they) replace a noun phrase in the subject site, and object pronouns (me, you, him, her, it, us, them) replace a noun phrase in the object site of a sentence.

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A device in which the non-human is given personality and human qualities.

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A term used to denote language used to create social contact.

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A group of words that have no finite verb (except for a verb phrase).

Noun phrase - (the green tree)

Adjective phrase - (very blue)

Verb phrase - (has gone)

Adverb phrase - (quite slowly)

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The level of a sound - low, medium or high.

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Place of articulation

The point at which the airstream is stopped in the mouth to produce consonantal sounds (bilabial, labiodental, alveolar, palato-alveolar, palatal, velar and glottal).

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The use of unnecessary words or ineffective repetition in an expression (safe haven, cheap bargain, hear with your ears). Also called tautology.

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A term used to denote consonants made by a complete closure of the air passage followed by a sudden release of air (p,t).

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A grammactical expression of more than one in number (cars,they).

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Having more than one syllable.

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A word or inflection signalling possession (Julie's, hers).

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Lexical items that precede the head in the phrase (the serious incident, very fast).

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A closed class word like in, on or by which precedes a noun phrase, pronoun or other lexical item to express a relationship between it and the rest of a clause.

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Prepositional phrase

A grammatical structure made up of a preposition and noun phrase (in the car).

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A closed class- word that can replace the noun phrase.

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The mode of articulating sounds, syllables or words.

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Proper noun

The name of a distinctive person, place or other unique reference. It is marked by a capital letter in written language.

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The specific aim of a particular form of language.

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A word or phrase that post-modifies a head word (the tree in the orchard).

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A stanza (or unit within a stanza) of four lines, rhymed or unrhymed (often abab) and commonly used in long narrative poems.

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Regular sentence

Conforms to grammatical rules.

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The correction of a mistake or misunderstanding in conversation.

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A device which emphasises an idea through reiteration.

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The arrangement of word endings which agree in vowel and consonant sounds.

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The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in language.

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Semantic shift

A word changing meaning over time, such as the word gay.

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The last six lines of the Petrachan or Italian sonnet, following the octave. Often the sestet resolves the problem or preposition set out in the octave.

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Consonantal sounds like affricates and alveolar and palatial fricatives which are articulated with a hissing sound (most commonly s).

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A device which makes a direct comparison between two things using as or like (the boy was fierce like a lion).

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Distinctive words and phrases associated with informal speech. It tends to be used within clearly defined social or age groups and is often short-lived.

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A traditional fourteen line verse from in which rhyme and stanza divisions are usually observed strictly according to two distinct patterns:

1. The Italian or Petrachan sonnet

2. The English or Shakespearean sonnet.

It was originally a medium for expression of love, but its scope has widened considerably.

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The form of a language considered to be the norm and used as the medium of education, government and the law. Varieties which differ from this are said to be non-standard.

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Stative verbs

Verbs that express states of being or processes in which there are no obvious action (know,believe).

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The comparative force, length, loudness and pitch with which a syllable is pronounced. Syllables may be stressed or unstressed.

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Strong verb

A verb that doesn't follow the regular pattern, but instead changes a vowel to mark the past tense (hang/hung, swim/swam).

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A noun phrase or pronoun which is usually the actor or the verb in a clause.

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Subordinate clause

A clause that can't stand as a sentence on its own, but needs another clause to complete its meaning. Also known as a dependant clause.

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A word or part of a word that can be uttered by a single effort of the voice.

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A device in which a word or phrase represents something else (dove for peace).

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Different words with the same or nearly the same meaning (valiant and brave).

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The study of the grammatical relationships between words in sentences.

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Something society avoids because it is  considered offensive language. Taboos are words generally disapproved of - these can change over time.

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Tag question

An interrogative structure attached to the end of a sentence which expects a reply (It's nice today, isn't it?)

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Aline of verse containing four feet.

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The distinctive pitch level of a syllable. Tones can be rising,falling, rising-falling and falling-rising.

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The thing or person about which something is said in a sentence; the focus of a written or spoken text.

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A written record of spoken language, which can use symbols and markings to illustrate the distinctive nature of speech.

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A unit of poetic metre containing three feet.

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A rhetorical patterning where three elements are juxtaposed to build up emphasis.

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The study of features of the printed page.

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A stretch of spoken language which is often preceded by silence and followed by silence or a change of speaker.

It is often used as an alternative to "sentence" in conversation analysis since it is difficult to apply the traditional characteristics of a written sentence to spoken language.

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Verbal noun

A noun derived from a verb (The driving is hard).

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Verb phrase

A group of verbs consisting of a main verb and up to four auxiliaries (she may go; she may have been intending to go).

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Open class words that express states, actions or processes. They can be marked for tense, aspect, voice or mood.

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The words used to name or refer to people when talking to them.

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Contrasting levels of loudness in speech, which may be described as loud, quiet, getting louder or getting quieter.

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