Sunday, 28 November 2021, 4:17 AM
Site: edulabs.org academy
Course: Activity Examples (Activity Examples)
Glossary: Linguistic Library (Mike Green)
A

Accent

Those features of our pronunciation which are determined by where we come from and our social class: e.g. in the south of England, it is normal to pronounce the word path as p-ar-th, but in the north, the phoneme 'a' is short and pronounced as in 'cat'. Middle and Upper class British people use the non-regional accent called Received Pronunciation (R.P.).

See also  Dialect.

Adjective

A word class which contains words that can add more detail (i.e. modify) to a noun or pronoun - e.g. the busy teacher (pre-modification) it was awful (post-modification). Adjectives are gradable depending on whether a comparison is made with one other thing or many other things:

  • big, bigger, biggest
  • difficult, more difficult, most difficult.

Adverb

A word class which contains words that add extra detail about the way an action occurred (i.e. the verb) but which can also modify another adverb or an adjective, e.g. 'The girl worked especially hard.' 'He was just too much!' Adverbs can give detail concerning time (soon), place (there) and manner (nearly).

An Adverbial is a phrase that does the job of an adverb provides extra information - usually about time, place or manner - in a clause. A sentence or clause can contain several adverbials (which, unusually for an English syntax, can be located in various places).  Adverbials are usually 'optional' elements in a clause - its central meaning being reasonably unaffected if they are left out.

Twice a day ADVERBIAL time
during the Summer ADVERBIAL time
I exercise SUBJECT+VERB
furiously ADVERBIAL manner
in the gym ADVERBIAL place
on the rowing machine ADVERBIAL place

An adverbial may consist of

  • a single adverb (I will do it soon) or
  • a prepositional phrase (I will do it in a minute) or
  • a subordinate clause (I will do it when I find my screwdriver)

 

 

Adverbial

A type of phrase that provides extra information - usually about time, place or manner - in a clause. A sentence or clause can contain several adverbials (which, unusually for an English syntax, can be located in various places). Adverbials are usually 'optional' elements in a clause - its central meaning being reasonably unaffected if they are left out.

Twice a day ADVERBIAL time
during the Summer ADVERBIAL time
I exercise SUBJECT+VERB
furiously ADVERBIAL manner
in the gym ADVERBIAL place
on the rowing machine ADVERBIAL place

Agreement

In English grammar, it is necessary that certain linked words 'agree' with each other, for example, a verb is given an inflexion (suffix) to allow it to 'agree with' its subject when in the 'third person', e.g. he talks (not he talk).

Ambiguity

This means 'more than one possible meaning'.  In most texts, ambiguity is a problem,  but in some kinds of text, such as poetry or song lyrics, ambiguity creates an effective richness of meaning.

Ambiguity can stem from interpreting words or grammatical structures differently.

Lexical ambiguity:
"He hid the money in the boot" the Wellington boot, or the car boot?

Grammatical ambiguity:  
'The sniper shot the general in the church' Who was in the church - the sniper or the general?

Ambiguity is typically resolved, allowing us to choose the right meaning, through context or pragmatics - so If you were asked to call someone a taxi, you wouldn't be likely to reply with "you're a taxi" .

Antonym

An antonym is a word with directly 'opposite' meaning, e.g. black is an antonym of white;  good is an antonym of bad.

Compare synonym.

Archaic

If a word is described as archaic, it suggests its use is now old-fashioned. Many words in poems are still used that seem archaic, and many formal words may seem to be so, especially in a religious or legal register. Such words may not be really archaic - it may simply be that you are unaware of these particular registers. Take great care when writing about language in A2 change not to label a word archaic simply because you haven't heard of it - better to say 'formal'.

In literature, an archaism is a deliberate and intentional use of older forms of language. For instance, nineteenth Century poetry retains the use of "thee" and "thou" as second person pronouns, even though they had passed out of use in conventionsl Standard English. If we are looking at an old text which contains words which were current at the time, but have since passed out of use, we can talk about obsolete language.

Audience

Audience means the kind of reader or listener the text was intended for. As this is unlikely to be you, you need to attempt the near impossible and 'become' the intended reader. Always consider a text in this way or you will run the risk of 'misreading' it. Also, avoid being overly specific or informal when describing an audience’s likely characteristics: 'this writing is suitable for clever so and so’s of about 23 and over' sounds rather less impressive than, 'the style of this text seems geared towards an educated and sophisticated adult audience'.

Auxiliary verb

English verbs are very limited in what they can indicate through their own morphology: using inflexions, they can show past (e.g. cooked) and present tense (e.g. cook), third person agreement (e.g. she cooks), and continuous action (e.g. cooking). Often the main verb needs 'helping out' with a secondary verb form. These are called auxiliary verbs. Auxiliaries are used, for example, to give a sense of time to the main verb (e.g. 'He will be working soon.') or to create a question, 'Have you won?', 'Do you believe it?', 'Could it be true?'. Common auxiliary verbs are forms of to be (is/am/was/are/were/will), to have (has/had/have) and to do (does/did). Some auxiliary verbs are used to remove the sense of action from the main or lexical verb, creating action that exists purely at the level of future potential. These are called modal auxiliaries, e.g. may, might, would, could, should.