Features of Speech and terminology

A document containing over 50 different features and their descriptions

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Syntax ­ is the study of how words are formed together to form a sentence/word order. The
component parts of a sentence are called constituents, which are the natural groupings of a sentence
Simple Sentence ­ consists of a single independent clause with no dependent clauses
Compound Sentence ­ consists of multiple independent clauses with no dependent clauses. These
clauses are joined together using conjunctions, punctuation, or both
Complex Sentence ­ consists of one or more independent clauses with at least one dependent
CompoundComplex Sentence ­ consists of multiple independent clauses, at least one of which
has at least one dependent clause.
Adjacency Pair 2 utterances linked in an obvious or clear way, always said by different speakers.
E.g. Question/Answer Greeting/Returned Greeting Apology/Acceptance.
Backchannel Feedback offered by one or more listeners to the main speaker, taking the form of
minimal responses and nonverbal communication such as nods and/or laughter.
Closed Question A question with few possible answers, or with a narrow field of response. E.g.
"Did you like the film?" rather than a more open question like "Can you tell me about the film?"
Colloquialism A word or phrase that is common in spoken language but not in written Standard
English. E.g. 'ain't'.
Contraction/Contracted Form 2 words that are reduced into 1 using an apostrophe. E.g.
Deixis A reference to something within the context of the interaction. E.g. that 'can you pass me
that?' or him 'did you speak to him yet?'. It can alternatively be a time reference such as
yesterday/next week because we don't know the date of the interaction, we don't know when they
refer to.
Discourse Marker A word that indicates a change of (or return to) topic. E.g. anyway, well, as I
was saying.
Elision Missing out a sound within a word. E.g. intrest, goin'. Note that these words may or may
not be marked with an apostrophe.
Ellipsis Missing out a word, often a noun or pronoun. E.g. "better get on with it", where it could of
be 'I'd, S/He'd, we'd, or you'd.
False Start Changing tack a short way into a sentence.
Filler A word that is found to have no/little meaning. Speakers often have preffered fillers they
form part of our idiolect. E.g. like, innit.

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Head Repetition of the subject at the start of a sentence but in a different form. E.g. Clare, she's
really nice. OR. That girl, I really like her. A head can be a single word or a longer phrase.
Hedge "Padding" that is added to bold statements, often intentionally in order to soften a request
of statement. E.g. kind of, probably, could be.
Idiolect An individual way of talking.…read more

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Timed Pause Always timed in seconds, usually represented as (1) (0.5), etc. They often don't
mean anything except that the speech is spontaneous may punctuate longer utterances can show
uncertainty of an unwillingness/hesitation to voice the utterance that follows.
Vague Language Anything that is imprecise or woolly. More specifically:
·Expressions such as "and that", "or whatever", at the ends of statements. They are often used like
·Nonspecific nouns like "whatsit" and "thingymajig".
·Hedges, including the addition of ish, or y. E.g.…read more

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Pragmatics An approach to discourse analysis which focuses less on structures and more on
contexts and purposes of people talking to each other.
Transactional talk Language to get things done or to transmit content or information (used when
the participants are exchanging goods and/or services)
Alliteration repeated use of the same consonant sounds e.g. The Slimy Snake Slithers
Assonance ­ repeated use of the same vowel sounds e.g.…read more


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