Linguistic Library (Mike Green)
Note: You may download the entries for this glossary here. If you wish to use this in your own Moodle course, first make a blank glossary and then follow the instructions for importing glossary entries here.
A glossary of linguistic terms, designed for A Level (UK) English Language Students.
- Original glossary written by Steve Campsall - HTML version at http://www.englishbiz.co.uk/
- Edited and converted to moodle form by Mike Green - firstname.lastname@example.org "
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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:
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
An adverbial may consist of
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
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).
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.
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" .
An antonym is a word with directly 'opposite' meaning, e.g. black is an antonym of white; good is an antonym of bad.
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 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'.
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.