Key words - Lexis and semantics

Lexis
Words
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Semantics
The meanings of words on their own and in relation to other words in a text
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Denotation
The literal meaning of a word, e.g. red is a colour at the end of the spectrum opposite violet
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Connotation
The associated meaning of a word, e.g. red has connotations of love and danger
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Figurative language
Language used in a non-literal way in order to describe something (e.g. a simile or metaphor)
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Semantic fields
Groups of words connected by a shared field of reference
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Synonyms
Words with equivalent meanings e.g. happy and cheerful
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Antonyms
Words with contrasting meanings, e.g. happy and sad
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Hypernyms
Words that label categories, e.g. the hypernym animal includes dog, cat and rabbit
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Hyponyms
Words that can be included in a larger category e.g. car, bus and aeroplane are in the category of transport
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Levels of formality
Vocabulary styles including slang, colloquialisms, taboo, formal and fixed levels
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Occupational register
A technical vocabulary associated with a particular occupation or activity
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Sociolect
A language style associated with a particular social group
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Dialect
A language style associated with a particular region
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Neologism
A newly formed or coined word
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Blend
A type of word formed by combining parts of other existing words to combine their meanings, e.g. brunch is a blend from breakfast and lunch
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Compound
A type of word formed by putting together other existing words, e.g. football
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Acronym
Abbreviation using the first letter of a group of words which can then be pronounced as a single word, e.g. NASA
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Initialism
Abbreviation using the first letter of a group of words, all of which are pronounced separately, e.g. DVD
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Eponym
A name based off a real or fictional character that is given to something
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Semantic change
The process of words changing meaning
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Narrowing
A type of semantic shift where a word becomes more specific over time, for example in Old English "wife" referred to any woman
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Broadening
A type of semantic shift where a word becomes less specific, e.g. "bird" used to mean young birds still in the nest
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Amelioration
A type of semantic shift where a word becomes more positive, e.g. "nice" in Middle English meant "foolish"
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Perjoration
A type of semantic shift where a word becomes more negative, e.g. "silly" in Old English meant "happy"
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Semantic reclamation
A type of semantic shift where a group of people reclaim a word and change its meaning or connoations, e.g. "suffragette" was originally used as a ridicule
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Lexicon
The vocabulary of a language
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Low-frequency lexis
Words that appear more rarely, such as specialist terms, e.g. words in the field of medicine
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The meanings of words on their own and in relation to other words in a text

Back

Semantics

Card 3

Front

The literal meaning of a word, e.g. red is a colour at the end of the spectrum opposite violet

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

The associated meaning of a word, e.g. red has connotations of love and danger

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Language used in a non-literal way in order to describe something (e.g. a simile or metaphor)

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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