Language Change/History Key Terms

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Inflection
a word is said to be inflected when it has a suffix attached to change the meaning.
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Closed class
prepositions, determiners, conjunctions and pronouns are said to be closed class words as they are rarely altered or added to over time.
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Prestige
the concept of status applied to a particular language variety or the person who uses it.
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Latinate
describing a word or other aspect of language derived from the Latin language.
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Etymology
the study of the history of words, and what the origins were for any particular word, in terms of a source language or particular context of use.
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Orthography
the way in which letter shapes are formed on a page and the characters used.
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Dialect
the language variety of a geographical region or social background.
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Idiom
metaphorical or non-literal sayings common in their cultural context.
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Grammarian
refers to the writers of the Early Modern English period who published texts that set out prescriptive rules for the language.
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Prescriptivism
an approach to language that seeks to impose particular rules for language use in order to maintain a specific standard form, and in some cases, to restrict/prevent the use of non-standard forms.
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Preposition
a function word that expresses a relationship between words, phrases or clauses. Prepositions usually relate to space or time.
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Colloquialism
a word or phrase from everyday spoken language.
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Preposition stranding
using a preposition that is unattached to an object, e.g. 'The angry man was difficult to talk to.' as re-ordering of '[it] was difficult to talk to the angry man'.
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Multiple negatives
the use of more than one form of negation in a phrase.
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Infinitive
the 'base form' of the verb preceded by the preposition 'to', used to express its action without linking it to a specific subject.
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Split infinitive
placing an adverbial in between the preposition and verb in an infinitive verb form.
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Irregular
a word that doesn't follow the standard patterns of inflection for change of meaning or function, e.g. the verb that doesn't use the -ed suffix to create the past tense, or an adjective that doesn't use the -er suffix to create the comparative form.
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Comparative
adjectives inflected with -er or combined with 'more' are in the comparative form.
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Superlative
adjectives inflected with -est or combined with 'most' are in the superlative form.
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Auxiliary
a verb that supports or 'helps' another.
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Modal
a verb used to express possibility, probability, certainty, necessity or obligation, e.g. will/would/may/might/must/can/shall/could
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Periphrase/Periphrastic
the use of several words to create a grammatical phrase, e.g. a verb phrase using an auxiliary verb in conjunction with a main verb.
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Imperative
a sentence function that gives directives, commonly known as commands.
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Affixation
modifying an existing word by adding a morpheme to the beginning or end of it.
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Conversion
creating a new meaning for a word by using it to fulfil a different word class function, e.g. using a noun as a verb.
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Lexicon
all of the words in a particular language.
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Compounding
joining two or more words together to create a new word.
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Prefixation
creating a new word by adding a prefix to the start of it.
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Suffixation
creating a new word by adding a suffix to the end of it.
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Inkhorning
bringing a new word into use by taking it from one of the classical languages of Latin, Greek or Hebrew. Usually only specifically used to describe this practice in writers of the Early Modern English period.
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Linguistic purism
the view that one particular language, or language form, is the most authentic and must be promoted over other, inferior varieties.
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Substitution
swapping a letter, cluster of letters, or sound with another in its place.
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Ligature
a feature of printed text that uses a line to join particular common combinations of letters together, especially clusters of consonants, e.g. 'st' or 'ct'.
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Suspended sentence
a sentence that uses a complex style, with multiple complex clauses, and which usually withholds the main meaning of the sentence until near to its end.
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Idiolect
an individual style of speaking, made up of choices in all frameworks.
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Elongated
used to describe a long vowel sound.
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Co-ordinating conjunction
a conjunction that connects main clauses together to form compound sentences.
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Anaphoric
a word or phrase that refers 'backwards' in a text to something mentioned earlier.
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Language contact
the instance of speakers of different languages interacting, often resulting in some form of exchange or blending of the languages.
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Prop-word
the use of the word 'one' in place of a noun.
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Utterance
the spoken language equivalent of a phrase or sentence.
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Archaic
no longer in common modern use.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

prepositions, determiners, conjunctions and pronouns are said to be closed class words as they are rarely altered or added to over time.

Back

Closed class

Card 3

Front

the concept of status applied to a particular language variety or the person who uses it.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

describing a word or other aspect of language derived from the Latin language.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

the study of the history of words, and what the origins were for any particular word, in terms of a source language or particular context of use.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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