English Language Glossary

Abstract nouns
refers to ideas & concepts that only exist in the mind
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where a speaker adapts to another Speaker's accent, dialect or sociolect
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Active Clause
clause construction where the subject is also the actor (they are doing or have done something to somebody/something)
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Adjacency Pair
a pair of utterances in a conversation that go together (greeting and a reply, answer and question etc.)
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linguistic and behavioural choices provided by technology
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Anchored relationship
an online relationship where 2 participants know each other in the offline world
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a determiner such as 'a' or 'the'
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Asymmetrical power
an imbalance of power between people
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when there is a delay between utterance and response
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Auxiliary verb
assists the main verb; primarily auxiliary verbs 'do', 'have' and 'be' denote changes of tense
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supportive terms such as 'oh' and 'really'
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chain-like structure in a sentence ('so we... and then... and then we...')
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a speaker responds and sets up the other speaker's next utterance in a chain that runs on past adjacency pairs
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a structural unit that contains at least 1 subject and 1 verb - can include other features such as object, complement and adverbial
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a process of standardising a language
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the many parts of a text that help to draw it together into a recognizable whole
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2 or more words that are often found together in a group or phrase with a distinct meaning (e.g. 'fish and chips')
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Comparative adjective
an adjective that designates comparison between 2 things, generally by adding the suffix -er to its base form (e.g. 'fast' = base form, 'faster' = comparative)
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a clause element that tells you more about the subject or the object
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Complex sentence
has 2 or more clauses, 1 of which is a subordinate clause
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a word formed from 2 other words (e.g. 'dustbin')
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Compound sentence
has 2 or more clauses, usually joined to the main clause by the conjunctions 'and' or 'but' and depends on the main clause to exist
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Compound-complex sentence
a sentence that has 3 or more clauses, 1 of which will be a subordinate clause and 1 will be a coordinate clause
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Concrete nouns
refer to things we can touch or can experience physically (e.g. 'table')
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a word that joins clauses together
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Consonant clusters
groups of consonants (e.g. 'str' or 'gl') that demand more muscular control than single consonants or vowel, so tend to appear later in the baby's utterances
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linguistic and behavioural restrictions provided by technology
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where a speaker moves towards another speaker's accent, dialect or sociolect
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Coordinating clause
a clause beginning with a coordinating conjunction and is essentially a main clause joined to another main clause
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coordinating conjunctions
these signal the start of a coordinate clause
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copular verb
a verb that takes a complement (such as 'seems', 'appears' or a form of the verb to be - 'is', 'was', 'are' etc.)
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covert prestige
describes high social status through use of non-standard forms
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a statement ('two fish were in the tank')
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Definite article
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terms that point towards something and place the words in context
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the literal, generally accepted, dictionary definition of a word
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words determining the number or status of the noun
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a non-standard variety of language, including lexis and grammar particular to a region
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Direct object
the part of a clause that is directly acted upon by the subject
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describes the structure of any text (or any segment of text) that is longer than a single sentence
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Discourse marker
marks a change in direction in an extended piece of written or spoken text (e.g. 'nevertheless', 'to sum up')
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Discourse Structure
the way a text is structured, according to the typical features of the text's genre
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Dispreferred response
a response that is unexpected, although not necessarily rude if phrased appropriately
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Downward divergence
making your accent or lexis more informal to actively distance yourself from another speaker
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Estuary English
a dialect of english that is perceived to have spread outwards from London along the South East of England. It has features of received pronounciation
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Extra-linguistic variables
factors that affect the way you speak (e.g. age, where you live, etc.)
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Feral children
children who are raised without human intervention
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making an offensive and insulting post in a chatroom
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Flouts a maxim
where someone obviously does not obey the conversational maxims that have been suggested by Grice
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controlling the agenda of a conversation (its direction and subject; or making utterances that encourage a child to fill in the blanks
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Glottal stops
a form of stop consonants made at the back of the throat to replace the 't' sound (e.g. 'wha' instead of 'what'
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Head noun
the main noun at the centre of a noun phrase
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High-frequency lexis
words that appear often in everyday speech
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a single word representing a more complex thought generally created by a child (e.g. 'juice' would be a holophrase for 'i want some juice'
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Hospitality token
a polite utterance relating to context designed to put speakers at their ease
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categories (e.g. pets, vehicles, sweets)
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examples within categories (hypernyms) (e.g. dog, car, sherbet lemons')
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a form of common non-literal expressions (e.g. 'i was dead on my feet')
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your own individual way of speaking
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Illocutionary act
implying something in what we say
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a command (e.g. 'give the hat to me')
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Indefinite article
'a' or 'an'
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Indirect object
receives the action
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abbreviation using the first letter of a group of words and are pronounced separately (e.g. 'FBI', 'DVD')
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a question (e.g. 'are you happy?')
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the pitch (how high or low in your vocal range)
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Irregular verbs
change their form when changing from the present tense to the past tense)
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the divisions that linguists draw between regions according to different dialects
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the placement of 2 contrasting ideas or things next to each other. This could operate within modes (e.g. words being used together, perhaps in an unexpected combination or for emphasis - 'Babies in drug error')
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the process of attaching words to objects
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Labov's narrative categories
a way of breaking down the typical discourse structure of a spoken story
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Language acquisition device (LAD)
a term coined by Chomsky to denote the inherent capacity of humans for learning language
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Left-branching sentence
has the subordinate clause or clauses before the main clause
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Lexical field
identifies the main subject matter of a text (e.g. food in a recipe, money in an article on economics)
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the vocabulary of a language
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a text in which the discourse is organised into some sort of sequence. There may be an implied expectation that the reader will read the text in the order in which it appears
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an English word that has come into use having been 'borrowed' from another language
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Low-frequency lexis
words that appear more rarely, such as specialist terms from a field (e.g. medicine)
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Main clause
a clause that can stand on its own grammatically
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Main verb
the verb that carries the main meaning or process in a verb phrase (and therefore in a clause/sentence)
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Mainstream dialect
the dialect that spans the whole English nation
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used to express how formal or informal a text is
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Manner maxim
a co-operative principle relating to what you say so that you avoid being obscure or ambiguous and be orderly
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refers to words are ascribed less prestige than the standard or unmarked form
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Minor sentence
a sentence that has some missing elements, such as the subject or the verb, making it technically ungrammatical
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Mixed mode
features of speech and writing in the same text
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Modal auxiliary verb
a sub-category of auxiliary verb that express degree of possibility, probability, necessity or obligation
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description in the form of words, phrases or whole clauses that alters our understanding of the thing described
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any word that describes a noun, adjective or adverb
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Morphological derivation
the process of creating a new word out of an old world or affix (e.g. the suffix -ly changes adjectives into adverbs - 'nice' become 'nicely')
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a text that uses more than 1 mode; often used for texts that have a combination of text and images
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Negative face
our desire to avoid doing something we don't want to do, such as give money to a stranger. This is part of Goffmans's ideas about face
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Negative politeness
a more indirect, hedged approach, often using negative constructions (e.g. 'you couldn't take the bin out for me, could you?'. This is linked to theories of face
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a newly formed or coined word
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Network Building
having labelled objects, children start to identify connections between them, recognising similarities and differences
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Neutral comment
speaker makes a comment on something neutral in the surroundings like the weather
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Nonce formation
a 'nonsense' new word that is created for a special occasion (e.g. just before lunch feeling 'hungryish' might be used)
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Non-finite subordinate clause
clauses in which the verb is not 'finished' and the tense is therefore not shown (e.g. clauses with to- infinitives like 'to buy some cheese' or with an -ing form such as in 'running down the road')
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a text with no expected sequence for reading - the cohesion may be less obvious and this maybe reflected in the layout (e.g. more use of text boxes and hyperlinks than if the text was linear')
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Noun phrase
a group of words with a noun in the centre of it
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words which name people, places, things, ideas and concepts
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Number homphones
where numbers are used to replace all or part of a word whose sound they resemble, usually within the context of an electronic text (e.g. '2' for 'to' or 'gr8' for 'great')
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this normally receives the action and comes after the verb
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Object permanence
the ability of a baby ti recognise that an object still exists even when the baby can't actually see it, thus it requires the capacity to form a mental representation of the object
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in conversation where no threat is made to someone's face (e.g. 'this room's pretty messy, isn't it?')
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expressions which open a conversation (e.g. 'so, what are your holiday plans this summer?')
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Other-related comment
speaker comments about another speaks (e.g. 'you look like you need a drink')
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widening the meaning of a word so that it extends to apply not just to the actual object but also to other objects with similar properties or functions
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the over application of rules about the formation of words
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Overt prestige
refers to a dialect used by a culturally powerful group
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the speed at which you talk
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in trying to ascertain the boundaries of the label, the child sometimes confuses hypernyms and hyponyms, giving rise to over- and underextensions
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passive voice
clause construction where the subject is not the actor (they have had or are having something done to them)
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periodic sentence
a complex sentence in which the main clause is saved until the end
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perlocutionary act
what happens in response to what is said (i.e. what is understood)
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Phatic talk
speech which is really just designed to maintain social relationships and does not carry significant meaning, often used to start a conversation (e.g. 'hi there(.)how are you?')
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phonemic contraction
the sounds a child can make are reduced so that they can only make the sounds of their own language
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phonemic expansion
an increase in the variety of sounds a child can produce
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the study of how we produce particular sounds
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the study of the sound system in the language and the effects of its particular features (i.e. consonants, vowels, rhythms, stresses and pace)
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describes a word with more than meaning (e.g. 'set' can refer to 'a set of cutlery' or 'a tennis set')
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many meanings in a word
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Positive face
our need to maintain self-esteem. Positive is threatened when we are criticised in any way
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Positive reinforcement
when a behaviour is rewarded and therefore encouraged to be repeated
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Possessive determiner
determiner which shows who the noun belongs to (e.g. 'my book')
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Positive politeness
an informal approach that assumes the other party will agree (e.g. 'i think that just about wraps it up, don't you?'). Linked to 'theories of face'
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post modified
the modification that comes after the head noun (or after a phrase or clause)
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post-telegraphic stage
the child's early reliance on lexical words gradually expands to include auxiliaries, prepositions and articles, e.g. 'mummy car' evolves into 'mummy is in the car'
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pragmatic failure
where the meaning that is implied is not the meaning that is understood by the listener
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what we really mean by what we say or write in a given context OR can refer to the contextual aspects of language use
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predicate overextension
conveying meaning that relates to absence (e.g. making the utterance 'cat' when looking at the cat's empty basket)
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modification that comes before the head noun (or before a phrase or clause)
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a word/phrase made to clear the air before a turn begins (e.g. 'well...')
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primary verbs
'be', 'have', 'do'
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the absence of social relationships
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productive vocabulary
the term used to describe the words a person (not necessarily a child) is able to use, either in speech or writing
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a word which stands in place of a noun or noun phrase (usually used to avoid repetition on the noun)
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Proper noun
words for specific people/places
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clusters of sounds that represent the baby's attempt to articulate specific words when their motor coordination is still in early stages of developmetn
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a play on word, often using the multiple meanings of words for effect (e.g. A man walks into a bar. Ouch!')
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describes why the text was produced or uttered (to entertain, to persuade, to inform, to advise,etc.)
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Quality maxim
a co-operative principle that requires that you do not say what you believe to be false
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Quantity maxim
a co-operative principle that requires you are more careful in what you say, be just as informative as is needed and no more
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the rephrasing and extending of a child's utterance
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Received pronunciation (RP)
a prestige form of English pronounication
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Receptive vocabulary
relates to the words a person recognises/understands and is likely to be larger than their productive vocabulary
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Reduplicated monosyllable
the repetition of sounds
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the type/variety of language that the writer or speaker has chosen to use (e.g. formal/informal register, medical register, academic register)
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Regular verbs
take a regular -ed inflection when changing from present to past tense (e.g. 'walk' to 'walked')
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Relation maxim
a co-operative principle that requires that you make what you say relevant to the last speaker's turn
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language that is used to present an impression of ourselves, or of an event, company or institution to the wider world
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a form of linguistic support whereby adults, through their interactions, provided the child with conversational material and patterning
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Self-related comment
speaker makes a comment about himself/herself
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Semantic field
a pattern of words with similar meanings found across a text(s)
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Semantic shift
the change in a meaning of a word
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the study of signs and symbols; considering not only the way in which words work and how they are used, but also by considering images, sounds, music and patterns
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Simple sentence
has only 1 clause
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a variety of language that is characteristic of the social background or status of its user
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Stages of CLA
phases that have been identified by linguists, during which particular significant characteristics can be identified
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this normally performs the action of the sentence/clause and can be a single word or phrase
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Subordinate clause
depends on the main clause to exist
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Subordinating conjunctions
these signal the start of a subordinate clause
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Superlative adjective
expresses the highest level of the quality represented by the adjective, generally made by adding -est to its base form (e.g. 'fast' to 'fastest')
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events that occur simultaneously, such as communication
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at the same time (e.g. face-to-face conversation)
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a word that has a similar meaning to another word
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the order of the elements in a clause or sentence (subject, verb, object, etc)
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Tag question
an interrogative clause added to the end of a declarative to make it into a tag question (e.g. 'we're meeting for lunch today aren't we?')
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Telegraphic stage
refers to speech that resembles an old-fashioned telegram, generally categorised by the omission of auxiliary verbs and determiners and with a focus on lexical essentials
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Transition relevance place
the point at which 1 turn is ending and another turn is signalled
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the process of taking turns in a conversation, where only 1 speaker speaks at a time
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Two-word stage
refers to the child's ability to start producing utterances which uses words in combination
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when the meaning ascribed to a word used by a child which is narrower than the meaning it has in an adult language; using a hyponym instead of a hypernym
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Upward convergence
changing your accent or lexical choices to something you perceive as more prestigious
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expression of farewell
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the action or state in the sentence or clause (can be a single word or verb phrase)
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Violates a maxim
subtle failure of someone to observe a maxim (e.g. going on a bit too long on a topic)
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directly addressing someone via someone in conversation by their name
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


where a speaker adapts to another Speaker's accent, dialect or sociolect



Card 3


clause construction where the subject is also the actor (they are doing or have done something to somebody/something)


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


a pair of utterances in a conversation that go together (greeting and a reply, answer and question etc.)


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


linguistic and behavioural choices provided by technology


Preview of the back of card 5
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