English Language


Key words

Lexis- Words

Morphology- how words are composed

Phonetics (IPA)- International Phonetic Alphabet

CDS- Child Directed Speech (Changing the lexis)

Conversation Theory- how we open/ end a conversation

Pragmatics- The underline meaning of what we say

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Child Language Theorists

Noam Chomsky

  • Believes that children are inhereted with the ability to learn any human language
  • Language Aquisiton Device

Jean Piaget

  • Believes that children do not think like adults
  • Through interaction with environment children construct their own understanding

Jerome Bruner

  • Responds to Chomsky's LAD
  • Believed that that parents often use books and images to support child's naming abilities
  • Language Aquisition Support System (LASS)
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Child Language Theorists 2

Burrhas Fredric Skinner

  • Behaivourism- states that all behaviour is conditioned e.g. punished or rewarded until it becomes natural and automatic.
  • Going against Chomsky
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Conversation Theory

Grice's maxims

  • Quantity- not too much, not too little
  • Relevance- relevent to the topic of conversation
  • Manner- be clear and ordered
  • Quality- truth


  • Consists of three maxims:

1) Don't impose (Would it be alright to?...)

2) Give options (If you want to you can...)

3) Give receiver positive feelings (I'm really glad you are here...)

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Halliday's Taxonomy

1) Instrumental- cause things to happen "give it to me"

2) Regulatory- control events or behaviour "he hit me"

3) Representation- communicate ideas or knowledge "i have two pennies"

4) Interactional- to get along with others "sit with me"

5) Personal- express personality, feelings or emotions "i sad"

6) Hearistic- aquire knowledge "show me"

7) Imaginative- create imaginative word "i pretend i am on a train"

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John Dore- Infant Language Functions

  • Labelling- Cat, Dog
  • Repeating- Repeating what grown up has said
  • Answering- answering a question
  • Requesting- "Can i have that one please?"
  • Calling- "daddy"
  • Greeting-"Hello Daddy"
  • Proesting- "I don't want a bath"
  • Practising- "nanna", "no bananna", "bananna"
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Article- Shows if a reference to a noun is general-"the","a"

Adverb- a class of word that modifes verb depending on time, place, manner- "There", "in"

Noun- Name of a person, place, thing or concept- "tree", "Mr.Tulloch"

Adjective-describing word- "pretty", "sunny"

Verb- word that describes an action- "hear"

Pronouns- refers to other participants in conversation- "he", "she", "them"

Prepositions- expressing a relation to another word- "on", "after"

Main clause- makes sense on its own

Subordinate clause- does not make sense on its own

Determiner- always goes infront of a noun-"a", "the"

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Referential utterance- gives information by referring to objects or concepts "vase"

Transactional utterance- making some sort of deal

Phatic utterance- social function more that serious meaning "hello"

Interactional utterance- exchanger related to social relationship

expresive utterance- expresses feeling 

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Keywords 2

Broadening- where meaning of word broadens

Narrowing- word becomes more specific- "girl used to mean young people but now means female"

Amelioration- meaning of word is more pleasant or more positive "pretty used to mean sly"

Pejoration- meaning of word is less pleasant or more negative

Weakening- word loses original strength over time

Metaphor- describes something as something else- "onion bag means football goal"

Idiom- word that cannot be understood from meaning need to know context- "in the doghouse"

Euphemism- mild or inoffensive of describing somehting distasteful or unpleasant

Political Correctness- attempt to replace words or expressions that are considered offensive- "mixed race" replaces " half caste"

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Keyword 3

Reference- something in sentance or text refers to something else-"my grear grandfather"

Ellipsis- where elements are ommited from a sentance

Conjunction- "However"

Repetition- repeating a word

Collocation-tendency for certain words to occur together.- in a review of a play, you would expect to see the words "actor" "director"

Phoneme- smallest unit of sound in language- B-A-T

Syllable- single unit of speech- string is made up of three syllables str-i-ng

Prosodic features- Stress, intonation, tempo, pauses, oral signals, pronunciation

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Conversation theory keywords

Turn taking

Adjacency pairs- e.g. a greeting usually consists of a greeting and an answer

Holding/ giving up floor


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Accomodation theory keyword

Convergence- users speech moves to same level

Divergence- where one or all speakers intentially keeps speech on different levels

Upward convergence- one speaker improves speech

Downward convergence- one speaker decreases quality of speech

Mutual convergence- both speakers change speech

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Keywords 4

Denotation- literal meaning of word 'red is just a colour'

Connotation- things associated with word 'red can suggest anger'

Anaphoric reference- refers back to something previous in conversation

Cataphoric reference- refers forward to something in conversation

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RP and SE theorists

Kerswill- those with a high level of education and higher paid jobs speak closer to standard language than others.

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Keywords 5

Sociolect- variety of language associated with a social group

Argot- a secret language to stop outsiders understanding conversation

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Restricted code- a phrase that only those involved in conversation understand

Elaborated code- a phrase that anyone can understand

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Language and social class theorists

Labov- studied pronunciation of 'r' in words such as "farm", "floor". found that middle class use 'r' more than lower middle class.

Trudgill- examined relationship between social class and number of linguistic variables. found that pronunciation of 'ing' increased according to formality of conversation. dound that those lower down in class tend to drog 'g' sound.

Petyt- examined dropping of 'h' sound from beginning of words. found a close relationship between 'h' and social class. higher the class, less likely.

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Information,non-standard words and expressions used in casual speech


Identifies you with your social group (sociolect)

Acts as a code to exclude outsiders


Lower Class/uneducated

Seen as informal so innapropriate in formal situations


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Slang and Jargon

Types of Slang

New meanings fot existing words

Shortening/abbreviating of words

New words


Specialist vocabulary associated with a particular occupation or activity

Positive use- verbal shorthand

Negative use- used to address a non-specialist audience

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Attitudes to Language Change

What influences attitudes?



Opinion of person



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the individual sounds of words

e.g. 1 morpheme= Dog 4 morphemes= un+help+ful+ness

Free Morphemes- can stand alone e.g. boy, cake

Bound morphemes- cannot stand alone e.g. un, sub

Prefixes- before the word

Suffixes- after the word

Inflectional affixes- Change the grammatical feature e.g. dog+s= dogs

Possessive affix- Daniel's exam

Present tense into third person- Drives (she drives)

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