Language Change Key Terms



Lexis – the vocabulary of language / words

Morphology – the study of the forms of words / how they are formed

Semantics – the meanings of words and phrases

Grammar – the whole system and structure of the language

Syntax – the sequence in which words are put together to form sentences

Discourse – the study of whole texts and context

Orthography – rules of spelling, hyphenation, capitalisation, word breaks and punctuation

Graphology – the study of symbols and layout on the page

Phonology – the study of sounds in language


Diachronic Change – posh term for Language Change over time

Descriptivism – non-judgmental / describes language change / accepts language change

Prescriptivism – hates language change / rules-based approach / grammar can’t change


Etymology – the study of the origin of words

Archaic language - out-dated or old-fashioned words / still recognisable

Archaism – out-dated grammar (e.g. – eth inflectional ending

Obsolete language – words which are no longer in use / unrecognisable

Latinate – words which originate or are based on Latin

Inkhorn word – newly-formed words based on Latin / unnecessary and most are obsolete now

Eponym – word named after a person


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