*Lexis – vocabulary system; meaning at word and phrase level
*Grammar – structural relationship within and between sentences and utterances
*Pragmatics – the ways in which social conventions and implied meanings are encoded in spoken and written language.
*Discourse – longer stretches of text, looking particularly at aspects of cohesion / the way texts create identities for particular individuals, groups or institutions, e.g. the discourse of law, politics, the media.
*Graphology – language as a semiotic system creating meaning through textual design, signs and images
Phonetics / phonology – the sounds of English, how they are produced and how they are described; including aspects of prosody
Register – situational variation and register: how language varies in relation to audiences, purposes and contexts.
Mode – how language may vary as a consequence of the channel of communication (speech, writing and mixed modes)
Idiolect – the language style acquired by individuals as a result of their personal characteristics, system of belief and social experience
Dialect – the variations in language produced as a result of local, community and regional diversity
Sociolect – language variations produced by the effects of education, socio-economic class, occupation and membership of social group.
Denotation (semantics) – the study of meaning and how it’s created
Connotation (pragmatics) – the study of context, implication and inference
Open class/lexical word class – nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives. They drop in and out of the language. They are the content words. Without them we lose all meaning.
Closed class/grammatical word class – pronouns, determiners, preposition, conjunctions (coordinating/subordinating), auxiliary verbs (modal verbs or primary verbs), enumerators (one, two three, first, second, third, etc.). They never change and are the glue which holds the sentence together – without them, the sentence would still make sense.
Non-finite verb phrases – verb phrases in which the verb isn’t fixed to any time frame, doesn’t sound complete and doesn’t sound complete. It can be attached to a finite verb phrase in order to make it sound complete (e.g. ‘walking unsteadily’ –> ‘walking unsteadily, he crossed the deck’)
Epistemic Modality – concerns estimation of the likelihood that a certain state of affairs is/has been /will be true (or false) – e.g. ‘we may see you tomorrow’, ‘can you remember?’
Deontic modals – express how something ought to be. They have elements of permission, obligation and, at the strongest level, requirement.
Progressive aspect – uses a form of ‘to be’ along with the ‘-ing’ form of the main verb, e.g. ‘I am singing’ (which is an activity that isn’t over and sounds as if it’s in the immediate ‘here and now’)
Perfective aspect – constructed using the auxiliary verb ‘have’ along with the past tense of the main verb. It’s primarily used for an action continuing up to the present, whereas in the past tense the action is over and done with. E.g. ‘I have worked all day’.
Transitive verbs – have a subject and are shown to affect something else, e.g. ‘The Prime Minister sacked his chancellor’, whereas intransitive verbs do not.
Common and Proper nouns – a common noun is the name of an object, e.g. horse, table whereas proper nouns are the names of specific people, places, days of the week, etc. and begin with a capital letter.
Count and mass (noncount) nouns – count nouns refer to individual, countable entities and mass nouns refer to an undifferentiated mass or notion (examples of count nouns are ‘book/s’, ‘horse/s’ and ‘chocolate/s’ and examples of mass nouns are ‘butter’, ‘chess’ and ‘applause’). ‘Fewer’ is used for count nouns and ‘less’ is used for mass.
Abstract nouns – unobservable notions, things you can’t touch or see e.g. ‘love’, ‘hate’, ‘difficulty’
Concrete nouns – entities that can be observed or measure e.g. ‘bread’, ‘juice’, ‘fish’
Premodification – when words are placed before the head noun to modify it – not all premodifiers are adjectives, e.g. ‘garden gate’.
Postmodification – when words are placed after the head noun within the noun phrase.
Descriptive - adjectives which give factual detail of the material property of an object
Evaluative - adjectives which either state or imply a judgement of whether something is good or bad
Emotive - adjectives which express an emotional attitude, often adjectives that have been bleached of any very specific meaning
Comparative adjectives – e.g. ‘more hopeful’, ‘friendlier’
Superlative adjectives – e.g. ‘most hopeful’, ‘friendliest’
Circumstance adverbs – add circumstantial information to the verb (time, manner, place, etc.)
Degree adverbs – these modify adjectives and other adverbs. E.g. ‘I’m very sorry for the inconvenience’ <– here, the adverb ‘very’ is modifying the adjective ‘sorry’.
Sentence adverbs – apply to the whole clause or sentence and express an attitude to it, or a connection between it and another clause or sentence. There are two main categories:
- Attitude – fortunately, actually, oddly, perhaps, surely
- Connective – so, yet, however, therefore, secondly, though
Reflexive pronouns – some personal pronouns are formed by the addition of ‘-self’ or ‘-selves’ as a suffix, e.g. ‘myself’, ‘yourself’, etc. and refer back to the original pronoun / noun.
Demonstrative – some pronouns – ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’, ‘those’ – refer to particular people or things. The demonstrative words can be used as determiners (‘this house’, ‘those cars’). A pronoun replaces a noun or noun phrase whilst a determiner comes before a noun or noun phrase, for example.
Personal -- these are pronouns are used to persuade the reader by aiming the product or text at them 'personally' e.g. 'You'
Lexis – informality indicators
Initialisms – items which are spoken as individual letters e.g. BBC, RSPCA, MP, GCSE
Acronyms – Initialisms which produce a new word, e.g. TARDIS J
Clipping – a part of a word which serves for the whole, e.g. ‘ad’ (beginning), ‘plane’ (end) and ‘fridge’ (middle)
Blend – a word which is made out of the shortened forms of two other words, e.g. ‘brunch’, ‘smog’, ‘bromance’.
Awkward case – some forms can be used as Initialisms OR acronyms, e.g. UFO / you-foe or some are a mixture of both (‘CDROM’)
Ellipsis – where part of a sentence is omitted.
Contractions – e.g. ‘she’ll’, ‘it’s’
Elision – joining together two words, e.g. ‘kinda’
Interrogatives – questions
Imperatives – commands
Declarations – statements
The structure of conversation
Adjacency pairs – two-part exchange that follows a predictable pattern, e.g. a question followed by an answer, a greeting and response, a summon and answer, an apology and an acceptance. There can also be three-part exchanges when the second speaker’s response generates a further utterance from the first speaker.
Changes of topic are known as topic shifts and utterances that initiate them are termed topic shifters.
Topic loop – when a conversation returns to an earlier topic
Feedback – verbal responses, back-channel noises or non-verbal responses (nodding, smiling) that those being addressed do to show the speaker that they are listening.
Phatic talk – often referred to as the ‘small talk’ at the start of a conversation.
Prosodic features – the sound features of talk, such as rhythm ,pitch and speed.
Para-linguistic features – the movements that go with talk, such as facial expressions, gestures, posture
Fillers – sounds which fill up pauses in speech, such as ‘er’, ‘um’, etc.
False starts – when a speaker begins an utterance and then re-starts
Agenda – this term can refer to the purpose of a speaker within the conversation
Turn taking – some researchers (Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson) have claimed that speakers manage their conversation so that they do take turns and so that overlaps are managed. Turn taking is about speakers working together to carry a conversation forward.
Non-fluency features – these are parts of speech which, although referred to as ‘non-fluency’ features, are normal occurrences which occur as a speaker negotiates their way through a conversation. Things such as pauses, repetitions and hesitations are included in this category. ‘Non-fluency’ can seem like a pejorative term but usually these features do not indicate a lack of certainty or skill on the part of the speaker.
Deictic expression – indicating to an element outside of the conversation, i.e. ‘over there’, ‘that one’.
Accommodation theory (Howard Giles) – suggests that we adjust our speech to ‘accommodate’ the person we are addressing. This may result in convergence or divergence.
Convergence – when we move our speech closer to that of the other person. It decreases the social distance between the members of the conversation. An example would be when an RP speaker tones down his accent in the company of working class speakers, which is termeddownward convergence. However, when a man with a strong regional accent is being interviewed for a job by an RP speaker moves his own accent closer to RP to make a clearer and better impression, it is termed upward convergence.
Divergence – when people’s speech styles move further apart.
Mutual convergence – when both participants in a conversation converge towards each other.
The cooperative principle – H.P.Grice saw cooperation between the participants as the fundamental principle underlying conversation. He argued that the conversations proceed on the assumption that those taking part have common goals and agreed ways of achieving these goals.
Key concepts, by which texts can be classified
Mode – whether it is speech or writing; multimodality means a text containing features of spoken and written language.
*Genre – types of texts, e.g. recipes, adverts, etc.
Context – what has influenced the writing of a text and where it might be read/spoken.
*Audience – for whom the text has been produced
*Purpose – the reason why a text has been produced
Formality – the language patterns and words a text uses and whether they are formal/informal