Phonological framework

Phonology is the sound of language. Look for:

  • Characteristics of speech – prosodic features, voiced pauses, fillers
  • Rhetorical, literary or specialist use – rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, assonance, sibilance, consonance, harsh/soft sounds
  • Elision
  • Accent, recognisable by deviant spelling
  • Text message phonetics – homophones of numbers
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Lexical framework

Lexis simply means vocabulary. Look out for:

  • Informal lexis – slang, colloquialisms, swearing, clichés, monosyllabic words, dialect
  • Formal lexis – elevated, literate, sophisticated, polysyllabic, archaisms, Latinate
  • Figurative lexis – metaphor, simile, personification, metonymy, hyperbole, oxymoron
  • Other lexical choices – euphemisms, dysphemism, neologisms, collocations 
  • Field specific lexis – semantic fields, jargon
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Semantic framework

Semantics is the meaning of language. Look for:

  • Factual and objective – denotative or referential
  • Personal and subjective – connotative, emotive or attitudinal
  • Types of meaning – positive, negative, specific, vague, literal, figurative
  • Similarities/contrasts in meaning – synonym, antonym
  • Changes – amelioration, pejoration, generalisation, specialisation, weakening
  • Meanings from lexis feature – semantic fields, figurative language
  • Meanings from grammar feature – modality from modal auxiliaries
  • Others – hyponym, hypernym, meronym, homonym, homophone
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Pragmatic framework

Where semantics involves the meaning of language, pragmatics centres on the force of our language. It is the practical use of language and how meaning is implied.

  • Recognition of allusion – cultural allusions
  • Recognition of function – use of grammatical declarative to ask a question, use of interrogative to command
  • Grice’s maxims – quality, quantity, manner, relevance
  • Specific features of turns in speech – utterance length, speech acts, backtracking, repairing, terms of address, repetition, minimal responses, hedging
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Grammatical framework

Grammar is the structure of units of language.

  • Word classes – nouns, adjectives, verbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions
  • Sentence function – declarative, interrogative, imperative, exclamative
  • Sentence type – minor, simple, compound, complex
  • Syntax
  • Other – ellipsis, active/passive voice, pronoun use, agreement, deixis
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