AS English Terminology Definitions

Definitions of a wide selection of terms you'd be expected to use in your AS English work and within the upcoming exams.


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  • Created by: Elizabeth
  • Created on: 08-03-10 19:01

- Status - Overt Purpose - Active Listening - Conv

Status - Position in society which can be signified by mode of address. Lawyer - "Sir"

Overt purpose/Implied purpose - What you say and what you mean/What it's written as and what you want to achieve; for example, "Nice skirt..." when they don't truly mean that.

Active listening - Acknowledging conversation and speech. Show your engaging in the conversation; for example, "yeah", "huh", "mhm", ohhh".

Conversational markers - Phrases that draws the person in, or seeks their approval in a conversation; for example, "what do you think?".

Linear - Do they go in a line? This is rare in a natural conversation due to expected interruptions. Format of the convo would be A-B-A-B-A-B...

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- Anaphoric Reference - Pragmatics - Phatic Talk -

Anaphoric references - Referring back to something that has already been said in the conversation.

Pragmatics - When you say one thing but mean another; for example, "do you have a stapler?" is a pragmatic as what you're really asking is "can I use your stapler?".

Phatic talk - Being polite and asking without caring of the response; for example, "Hi, how are you?".

Sociolect - The social dialect used by different groups such as working, middle and upper classes.

Tag question - Starts a conversation.

Transactional talk - Topic shift from one to the other.

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- Utterance - Adjacency Pairs - Back-channel - Con

Utterance - An utterance is a complete unit of speech in spoken language. It is generally but not always bounded by silence.

Adjacency pairs - This is where a question is asked and an answer is provided, or the reply is related to what was said in some way (it all links).

Back-channel - Linking back to the previous subject.

Contraction - Words shortened in lenght, such as "don't" rather than "do not" and "can't" instead of "can not".

False start - Going back and correcting yourself; for example, "Yesterday -- no I mean this morning!".

Quality - The richness of the language.

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- Grice's Maxims -

Grice's Maxims - Laws of conversation:

  1. The maxim of quantity, where one tries to be as informative as one possibly can, and gives as much information as is needed, and no more.

  2. The maxim of quality

    , where one tries to be truthful, and does not give information that is false or that is not supported by evidence.
  3. The maxim of relation, where one tries to be relevant, and says things that are pertinent to the discussion.
  4. The maxim of manner, when one tries to be as clear, as brief, and as orderly as one can in what one says, and where one avoids obscurity and ambiguity.
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- Manner - Hedge - Idiolect - Filler - Accent - Di

Manner - The manner in which you speak, whether it be rudely, pleasantly, nervously, etc.

Hedge - Beating around the bush/Speaking of something indirectly.

Idiolect - Personal speaking habits/Certain aspects of an individual's speech.

Filler - "Ummm", "hmmm".

Accent - This is the cultural inheritence in which a person speaks. It in most cases represents their place of residence.

Discourse marker - Words that link sentences, such as "however", "whereas" and "nonetheless".

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Great!! :D


wow, some terms i didn't know about.


Thank you


Thank you! :)


Some of these seem a bit vague or wrong, for instance, tag questions are when you form a question by adding "isn't it?" or "don't you think?" at the end of a statement, isn't it? (<-- See what I did there :o)

Also, the way I understand it, back-channelling is what you have defined as "Active Talk" where a person confirms that he is listening. Linking back to the subject is known as a Topic Loop?

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