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Superlative: An adjective indicating the highest degree, usually ending ­est.
Simple sentence: A sentence that contains only one clause.
Simile: A comparison that includes the words `like' or `as'.
Semantics: The study of word meanings.
Repair: In conversation, a repair resolves a problem that has arisen ­ e.g. speakers may correct
themselves if something has been said in error.
Register: A form of language appropriate to a particular situation.
Received Pronunciation: The accent associated with upper-class speakers of English.…read more

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Standard English: The vocabulary and grammar associated with educated users of the language.
Sociolect: A variety of language (or dialect) used by a particular social group.
Passive voice: When the subject of a verb is the element affected by the action (e.g. `The burglar was
caught by the police').
Parallelism: Occurs when phrases or sentences have a similar pattern or structure (also known as
`parallel structure')
Onomatopoeia: When the sound of a word echoes its meaning (e.g. `buzz', `splash').…read more

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Morphology: The study of the structure of words.
Idiom: An expression whose meaning cannot be understood from the meanings of the individual
words that make up the expression.…read more

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Morpheme: The smallest unit of language that expresses meaning or serves a grammatical function;
always a letter or group of letters.
Monosyllabic words: Words of one syllable.
Pejoration: A shift in the meaning of a word so that its meaning becomes less positive.
Modifier: A word that gives more information about a head word.
Modal auxiliary: Auxiliary verbs which are only ever used in conjunction with a main verb (e.g. `can',
Head word: The main word of phrase.…read more

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Divergence: When the speech styles of two or more people move away from each other.
Compound: A word or expression formed from the combination of other words (e.g. `blackbird', or
`head waiter').…read more

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Dialect: A variety of language with distinctive features of vocabulary, grammar and accent (e.g.
regional dialects).
Determiner: A word used before a noun to indicate quantity, identity or significance (e.g. `a', `the',
Descriptivism: An approach to the study of language that describes how language is used but does
not judge language use as correct or incorrect.
Denotation: The straightforward, objective meaning of a word (i.e. its dictionary definition).
Deixis: Deictic expressions cannot be understood unless the context of the utterance is known (e.g.…read more

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Asyndetic listing: Listing which does not involve the use of conjunctions.
Assonance: When the vowel sounds in the middle of two or more words are similar.
Antonym: A word that is opposite in meaning to another word.
Anaphoric reference: A word or expression in a text that refers back to another part of the text.
Amelioration: A change in meaning of a word that gives the word a meaning that is more positive.
Alliteration: When two or more words begin with the same sound.…read more


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