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126 terms

Linguistic Terms

Corpus Linguistics
Corpus linguistics is the study of language as expressed in samples (corpora) of 'real world' text. This method represents a digestive approach to deriving a set of abstract rules by which a natural language is governed or else relates to another language. Originally done by hand, corpora are now largely derived by an automated process.
Corpus linguistics adherents believe that reliable language analysis best occurs on field-collected samples, in natural contexts and with minimal experimental interference.
is an African American variety (dialect, ethnolect and sociolect) of American English. Non-linguists sometimes call it Ebonics (a term that also has other meanings and strong connotations).
Its pronunciation is, in some respects, common to Southern American English, which is spoken by many African Americans and many non-African Americans in the United States. Several creolists, including William Stewart, John Dillard, and John Rickford, argue that AAVE shares so many characteristics with African creole dialects spoken in much of the world that AAVE itself is a creole,[1] while others maintain that there are no significant parallels.
Folk Etymology
Folk etymology is change in a word or phrase over time resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familiar one. Unanalyzable borrowings from foreign languages, like asparagus, or old compounds such as samblind which have lost their iconic motivation (since one or more of the morphemes making them up, like sam-, which meant 'semi-', has become obscure) are reanalyzed in a more or less semantically plausible way, yielding, in these examples, sparrow grass and sandblind.
A phoneme is a basic unit of a language's phonology, which is combined with other phonemes to form meaningful units such as words or morphemes. The phoneme can be described as 'the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances'. In this way the difference in meaning between the English words kill and kiss is a result of the exchange of the phoneme /l/ for the phoneme /s/. Two words that differ in meaning through a contrast of a single phoneme are called minimal pairs.
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantic unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word, by definition, is a freestanding unit of meaning. Every word comprises one or more morphemes.
Sanskrit (संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam [sə̃skɹ̩t̪əm], originally संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, 'refined speech'), is a historical Indo-Aryan language, the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and a literary and scholarly language in Buddhism and Jainism. Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India[3] and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand.[4] Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies.
Gilles Fauconnier
is a French linguist, researcher in cognitive science, and author, currently working in the U.S.. He is a professor at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Cognitive Science
An ideogram is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept. Some ideograms are comprehensible only by ng UML), which are used worldwide regardless of how they are pronounced in different languages. Other examples include the Blissymbols, Nsibidi, used by the Igbo and Ekpe in West Africa, Emoticons, and pictographs as used by the Sioux and Ojibwa.
Language isolate
A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or 'genetic') relationship with other languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language. They are in effect language families consisting of a single language. Commonly cited examples include Basque, Korean, Ainu and Burushaski, though in each case a minority of linguists claim to have demonstrated a relationship with other languages.
Acoustic Phonetics
Acoustic phonetics is a subfield of phonetics which deals with acoustic aspects of speech sounds. Acoustic phonetics investigates properties like the mean squared amplitude of a waveform, its duration, its fundamental frequency, or other properties of its frequency spectrum, and the relationship of these properties to other branches of phonetics (e.g. articulatory or auditory phonetics), and to abstract linguistic concepts like phones, phrases, or utterances.
an allomorph is a variant form of a morpheme. The concept occurs when a unit of meaning can vary in sound without changing meaning. The term allomorph explains the comprehension of phonological variations for specific morphemes.
Tok Pisin
Tok Pisin is a creole spoken throughout Papua New Guinea. It is an official language of Papua New Guinea and the most widely used language in that country. In parts of Western, Gulf, Central, Oro Province and Milne Bay Provinces, however, the use of Tok Pisin has a shorter history, and is less universal, especially among older people.
Term introduced by Bickerton (1975) to designate the local variety of standard English found in creole societies. An acrolect is distinguished from the basilect, i.e. the pure creole language, and from the mesolect, a transitional variety of language between the two. ( also pidgin, creole)
Paradigm Leveling
Paradigm leveling is simply analogical change that makes the members of a paradigm look more like one another. It's then a case of regularization within a paradigm.For example, the extension of the form is to persons such as I is and they is in some dialects of English is leveling, by analogy with a more frequent form, as is the reanalysis of English strong verbs as weak verbs, such as bode becoming bided or swoll becoming swelled.
Passive Voice
The passive voice is a grammatical construction (specifically, a 'voice'). The noun or noun phrase that would be the object of an active sentence (such as I ate my lunch) appears as the subject of a sentence with passive voice (e.g. My lunch was eaten by me).
The subject of a sentence or clause featuring the passive voice denotes the recipient of the action (the patient) rather than the performer (the agent). The passive voice in English is formed periphrastically, with an auxiliary verb (usually be or get) plus a participle (usually the past participle) of a verb, usually a transitive verb.
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association as a standardized representation of the sounds of oral language.The IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, linguists, Speech-Language Pathologists, singers, actors, constructed language creators, and translators.
The IPA is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are distinctive in oral language: phonemes, intonation, and the separation of words and syllables.To represent additional qualities of speech such as tooth gnashing, lisping, and sounds made with a cleft palate, an extended set of symbols called the Extensions to the IPA may be used.
A proto-language (alternatively known as a parent language, or common ancestor) in the tree model of historical linguistics is a hypothetical, or reconstructed, typically extinct language from which a number of attested, or documented, known languages are believed to have descended by evolution, or slow modification of the proto-language into languages that form a language family.Typically, the proto-language is not known directly. It is by definition a linguistic reconstruction formulated by applying the comparative method to a group of languages featuring similar characteristics.[1] The tree is a statement of similarity and a hypothesis that the similarity results from descent from a common language.Some universally accepted proto-languages are Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Uralic, and Proto-Dravidian.
Celtic Subfamily of Languages
Celtic languages are a subfamily of the Indo-European language family. Geographically and historically, this subfamily is divided into a Continental group (now extinct) and an Insular group. The Insular languages fall into two groups: the Goidelic (or Gaelic), including Irish, Scottish Gaelic (or Erse), and Manx; and the Brythonic (or British), including Breton, Cornish, and Welsh.
The characteristic of Celtic languages that most distinguishes them from other Indo-European linguistic groups is their loss of the original Indo-European sound p. Their rules of pronunciation are extremely complicated, as the spelling generally does not correspond to the pronunciation. All modern Celtic languages use the Roman alphabet.
Wo word stage in children
Children go through a variety of different stages as they learn to speak. At approximately 2 years of age, they leave the one-word stage and enter the two-word stage. During this stage children start using two-word sentences more than just using single words for everything. For example, a child who wants to get milk may say 'get milk' as opposed to only being able to say 'milk'. This shows a marked advancement in language skills. This stage is also marked by telegraphic speech.
Linguistic element which refers back to another linguistic element ( antecedent) in the coreferential relationship, i.e. the reference of an anaphora can only be ascertained by interpreting its antecedent. In this sense, anaphora is contrasted with cataphora, where the words refer forward.
Affix Hopping
Affix hopping is a morphological operation by which an unattached affix in the T position is lowered onto a verb. This attachment is done by the 'Phonetic Form component' (the posited component in the mind that transforms the inputs it receives from the syntactic component into phonetic spell-outs).
sibilant, in phonetics, a fricative consonant sound, in which the tip, or blade, of the tongue is brought near the roof of the mouth and air is pushed past the tongue to make a hissing sound. In English s, z, sh, and zh (the sound of the s in "pleasure") are sibilants. Sometimes the affricates ch and j are also considered as sibilants.
deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place. Words or phrases that require contextual information to convey any meaning - for example, English pronouns - are deictic.
A sound change involving the loss of a syllable when it is next to a phonetically identical (or similar) syllable.
Haplology is a type of dissimilation. Perhaps the best known example is the reduction of Anglaland in Old English to England in Modern English.
Ain't is a colloquialism and contraction for 'am not', 'is not', 'are not', 'has not', and 'have not' in the common English language vernacular. In some dialects ain't is also used as a contraction of 'do not', 'does not', and 'did not'. The usage of ain't is a perennial subject of controversy in English. Widely used by many people, and found in most dictionaries,its use is often considered by prescriptionists to be informal, nonstandard, or improper.
Echolalia is the automatic repetition of vocalizations made by another person. It is closely related to echopraxia, the automatic repetition of movements made by another person.Echolalia occurs during human child development, with babies producing vowels, some consonants and echolalia between 6 to 9 months of age.It can also describe a speech disorder in humans with developmental disabilities.
Function Words
Function words (or grammatical words or synsemantic words or structure-class words) are words that have little lexical meaning or have ambiguous meaning, but instead serve to express grammatical relationships with other words within a sentence, or specify the attitude or mood of the speaker. They signal the structural relationships that words have to one another and are the glue that holds sentences together.
The Maxim of Relevance
The maxim of relevance -- originally called the 'maxim of relation' by Grice (1975) -- is one of Grice's four conversational maxims, which jointly constitute the cooperative principle. Grice (1975: 47) defines it as follows: 'I expect a partner's contribution to be appropriate to immediate needs at each stage of the transaction'.
Leech (1983: 94) provides the following definition of the notion of relevance: 'An utterance U is relevant to a speech situation if U can be interpreted as contributing to the conversational goal(s) of speaker or hearer'. Leech states that the speaker strives for a certain goal by stating his question and that the hearer adopts this goal when giving an answer.
Ingressive articulation
In human speech, ingressive sounds are sounds by which the airstream flows inward through the mouth or nose. The three types of ingressive sounds are lingual ingressive or velaric ingressive (from the tongue and the velum), glottalic ingressive (from the glottis), and pulmonic ingressive (from the lungs).
Northern Cities Shift
The Northern Cities Chain Shift is a series of innovations in the vowels of the English spoken in the urban centres that surround the American side of the Great Lakes. First described by Labov, Yaeger, & Steiner (1973) and investigated further by Eckert (1989), its linguistic consequence is a new vowel system, characteristic of cities like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo. Some aspects of it are detectable farther afield, in cities like Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Indianapolis.
Natural Class
A natural class is a set of sounds that have certain phonetic features in common. All the members of a natural class are affected in the same way in the same environment. Similarly, all members of a natural class have the same effect on other sounds that occur in their environment.
For a group of sounds to constitute a natural class, they must all share one or more features and there should be no other sounds in the language that have this feature or combination of features.Voiced plosives {b, d, g} form a natural class.
Ebonics (a blend of the words ebony and phonics) is a term that was originally intended to refer to the language of all people descended from enslaved Black Africans, particularly in West Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. Since the 1996 controversy over its use by the Oakland School Board, the term Ebonics has primarily been used to refer to African American Vernacular English (AAVE), a dialect distinctively different from Standard American English.
Adverbial Adjunct
An Adverbial Adjunct is a word or group of words that is added to some part of a sentence that is not a noun or pronoun.

Adverbial adjuncts are often added to verbs, and this fact gives them their name. But they are also often added to verbals and verb phrases, as well as to other elements not yet studied.
Optimality Theory
is a linguistic model proposing that the observed forms of language arise from the interaction between conflicting constraints. OT models grammars as systems that provide mappings from inputs to outputs; typically, the inputs are conceived of as underlying representations, and the outputs as their surface realizations. The re are three basic components of the theory:
1. GEN takes an input, and generates the list of possible outputs, or candidates,
2. CON provides the criteria, in the form of strictly ordered violable constraints, used to decide between candidates, and
3. EVAL chooses the optimal candidate based on the constraints, and this candidate is the output.
Variant of German which arose during the Middle Ages as a trade language of Jews in important centers of commerce (countries along the Rhine and Danube). Today the East European branch of Yiddish (language of the Ashkenazic Jews) has approx. 5 million speakers as either a native or a second language in Israel, Poland, Lithuania, the United States, Latin America, Argentina, Russia, and other countries. Yiddish, based on German from the late Middle Ages, is mixed with influences from Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic, and the Romance languages.
Complementary Distribution
Complementary distribution in linguistics is the relationship between two different elements, where one element is found in a particular environment and the other element is found in the opposite environment. It often indicates that two superficially different elements are in fact the same linguistic unit at a deeper level. In some instances, more than two elements can be in complementary distribution with one another.
Garden Path Sentence
A garden path sentence is a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that a reader's most likely interpretation will be incorrect; the reader is lured into a parse that turns out to be a dead end. Garden path sentences are used in psycholinguistics to illustrate the fact that when human beings read, they process language one word at a time. Example, the horse raced past the barn fell.
Back Formation
In etymology, back-formation is the process of creating a new lexeme, usually by removing actual or supposed affixes.[1] The resulting neologism is called a back-formation.For example, the noun resurrection was borrowed from Latin, and the verb resurrect was then backformed hundreds of years later from it by removing the ion suffix.
) is a monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement of the articulator from one vowel quality to another that passes over a third. While 'pure' vowels, or monophthongs, are said to have one target articulator position, diphthongs have two, and triphthongs three. For example hour.
Metathesis (/məˈtæθəsɪs/; from Greek μετά-θε-σις, from μετα-τί-θη-μι 'I put in a different order': Latin trānspositiō) is the re-arranging of sounds or syllables in a word, or of words in a sentence. Most commonly it refers to the switching of two or more contiguous sounds, known as adjacent metathesis[1] or local metathesis:[2]
foliage → **foilage
cavalry → **calvary
rhotacization is the conversion of a consonant (usually a voiced alveolar consonant — /z/, /d/, /l/, or /n/) to a rhotic consonant in a certain environment. The most common may be of /z/ to /r/.
Indirect Speech Act
Searle has introduced the notion of an 'indirect speech act', which in his account is meant to be, more particularly, an indirect 'illocutionary' act. Applying a conception of such illocutionary acts according to which they are (roughly) acts of saying something with the intention of communicating with an audience, he describes indirect speech acts as follows: 'In indirect speech acts the speaker communicates to the hearer more than he actually says by way of relying on their mutually shared background information, both linguistic and nonlinguistic, together with the general powers of rationality and inference on the part of the hearer.' An account of such act, it follows, will require such things as an analysis of mutually shared background information about the conversation, as well as of rationality and linguistic conventions.
Tone Language
In the most widely-spoken tonal language, Mandarin Chinese, tones are distinguished by their shape (contour) and pitch range (or register). Many words are differentiated solely by tone, and each syllable in a multisyllabic word often carries its own tone. Moreover, tone plays little role in modern Chinese grammar, though the tones descend from features in Old Chinese that did have morphological significance (e.g. changing a verb to a noun or vice-versa). In tonal languages, each syllable has an inherent pitch contour, and thus minimal pairs exist between syllables with the same segmental features but different tones.
Phrase Structure Rule
Phrase-structure rules are a way to describe a given language's syntax and are closely associated with the early stages of Transformational Grammar.[1][2] They are used to break down a natural language sentence into its constituent parts (also known as syntactic categories) namely phrasal categories and lexical categories (aka parts of speech).
The glottis is defined as the combination of the vocal folds (vocal cords) and the space in between the folds (the rima glottidis).As the vocal folds vibrate, the resulting vibration produces a 'buzzing' quality to the speech, called voice or voicing or pronunciation. For example (h).
Language Death
is a process that affects speech communities where the level of linguistic competence that speakers possess of a given language variety is decreased, eventually resulting in no native and/or fluent speakers of the variety. Language death may affect any language idiom, including dialects and languages.
Dichotic Listening
Dichotic Listening is a psychological test commonly used to investigate selective attention within the auditory system and is a subtopic of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Specifically, it is 'used as a behavioral test for hemispheric lateralization of speech sound perception.'[1] During a standard dichotic listening test, a participant is presented with two different auditory stimuli simultaneously (usually speech). The different stimuli are directed into different ears over headphones.[2] Participants are asked to pay attention to one or both of the stimuli. Later, they are asked about the content of either the message they were asked to attend to or the message that they were not told to listen to.
Restrictive vs Nonrestrictive clauses
Restrictive clauses limit the possible meaning of a preceding subject. Nonrestrictive clauses tell you something about a preceding subject, but they do not limit, or restrict, the meaning of that subject. Compare the following examples.
When choosing between 'that' and 'which,' use 'that' to introduce a restrictive clause and 'which' to introduce a nonrestrictive clause. Although some writers use 'which' to introduce a restrictive clause, the traditional practice is to use 'that' to introduce a restrictive clause and 'which' to introduce a nonrestrictive clause. When writing a restrictive clause, do not place a comma before 'that.' When writing a nonrestrictive clause, do place a comma before 'which.'
Correct Restrictive Use:
- The store honored the complaints that were less than 60 days old.

Correct Nonrestrictive Use:
- The store honored the complaints, which were less than 60 days old.
schwa (sometimes spelled shwa)[1] refers to the mid-central vowel sound (rounded or unrounded) in the middle of the vowel chart, denoted by the IPA symbol ə, or another vowel sound close to that position. An example in English is the vowel sound in the second syllable of the word sofa.
Derivational Morpheme
Derivational morphemes, when combined with a root, change either the semantic meaning or part of speech of the affected word. For example, in the word happiness, the addition of the bound morpheme -ness to the root happy changes the word from an adjective into a noun.
an idiolect is a variety of language that is unique to a person, as manifested by the patterns of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation that he or she uses. Conceptually, the language production of each person, the idiolect, is unique; linguists disagree what underlying knowledge of a language, or of a given dialect, is shared among the speakers.
Dual Number
is a grammatical number that some languages use in addition to singular and plural. When a noun or pronoun appears in dual form, it is interpreted as referring to precisely two of the entities (objects or persons) identified by the noun or pronoun. Verbs can also have dual agreement forms in these languages.
Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word (or part of it) is repeated exactly or with a slight change.
Reduplication is used in inflections to convey a grammatical function, such as plurality, intensification, etc., and in lexical derivation to create new words. It is often used when a speaker adopts a tone more 'expressive' or figurative than ordinary speech and is also often, but not exclusively, iconic in meaning. Reduplication is found in a wide range of languages and language groups, though its level of linguistic productivity varies.
Broca's Aphasia
Expressive aphasia (non-fluent aphasia), is characterized by the loss of the ability to produce language (spoken or written). It is one subset of a larger family of disorders known collectively as aphasia.
a hyponym is a word or phrase whose semantic field is included within that of another word, its hypernym (sometimes spelled hyperonym outside of the natural language processing community[citation needed]). In simpler terms, a hyponym shares a type-of relationship with its hypernym. For example, scarlet, vermilion, carmine, and crimson are all hyponyms of red (their hypernym), which is, in turn, a hyponym of colour.
Semivowel ( Glides)
a semivowel (or glide) is a sound, such as English /w/ or /j/, that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions as the syllable boundary rather than as the nucleus of a syllable.
Structural Ambiguity
ambiguity that arises from the fact that two or more different syntactic structures can be assigned to one string of words. The expression old men and women is structurally ambiguous because it has the following two structural analyses:
(i) old [men and women]
(ii) [old men] and women
A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins (which are believed by scholars to be necessary precedents of creoles) in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, with the result that they have features of natural languages that are normally missing from pidgins
Minimal Pairs
minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, which differ in only one phonological element, such as a phone, phoneme, toneme or chroneme and have distinct meanings. They are used to demonstrate that two phones constitute two separate phonemes in the language.
As an example for English vowels, the pair 'let' + 'lit' can be used to demonstrate that the phones [ɛ] (in let) and [ɪ] (in lit) do in fact represent distinct phonemes /ɛ/ and /ɪ/.
An auxiliary verb is a verb used to add functional or grammatical meaning to the clause in which it appears - for example, to express tense, aspect, modality, voice, emphasis, etc. Auxiliary verbs usually accompany a main verb, the main verb providing the main semantic content of the clause in which it appears.[
functional specialization of the brain, with some skills, as language, occurring primarily in the left hemisphere and others, as the perception of visual and spatial relationships, occurring primarily in the right hemisphere.
Indo- European
The Indo-European languages are a family (or phylum) of several hundred related languages and dialects. It has about 439 languages and dialects,.the Indo-European family is significant to the field of historical linguistics as possessing the longest recorded history after the Afro-Asiatic family.
Stress- timed vs syllable- timed languages
It is generally agreed that languages can be roughly divided into two categories: stress-timed and syllable-timed. As a definition of each, we can say that in syllable-timed languages, syllables tend to follow each other at regular intervals, with an equal amount of time being allocated for each syllable. In stress-timed languages, on the other hand, stresses tend to occur at regular intervals, with the result that the remaining unstressed syllables, no matter how many in number, have to be squeezed in between the stresses to accommodate the regular beat of the stress.

Some stress-timed languages: English, Swedish, Russian, Arabic, European Portuguese.

Some syllable-timed languages: Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Finnish, Brazilian Portuguese.
a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting, an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal instead of an alveolar nasal (e.g. 'walking', not 'walkin''), choose more formal words (e.g. father vs. dad, child vs. kid, etc.), and refrain from using contractions such as ain't, than when speaking in an informal setting.
Synchronic vs Diachronic Analysis
a synchronic analysis is one that views linguistic phenomena only at one point in time, usually the present, though a synchronic analysis of a historical language form is also possible. This may be distinguished from diachronics, which regards a phenomenon in terms of developments through time. Diachronic analysis is the main concern of historical linguistics; most other branches of linguistics are concerned with some form of synchronic analysis.
Functional Grammar
Functional Grammar (FG) is a general theory of the organization of natural language as developed by Simon C. Dik and others. In the theory functional notions play essential and fundamental roles at different levels of grammatical organization. The theory is based on data and descriptions of many languages, and therefore has a high degree of typological adequacy. FG offers a platform for both theoretical linguists interested in representation and formalism and descriptive linguists interested in data and analysis.
A grapheme is the smallest semantically distinguishing unit in a written language, analogous to the phonemes of spoken languages. A grapheme may or may not carry meaning by itself, and may or may not correspond to a single phoneme. Graphemes include alphabetic letters, typographic ligatures, Chinese characters, numerical digits, punctuation marks, and other individual symbols of any of the world's writing systems.
Phrasal Verb
The term phrasal verb is commonly applied to two or three distinct but related constructions in English: a verb and a particle and/or a preposition co-occur forming a single semantic unit. This semantic unit cannot be understood based upon the meanings of the individual parts in isolation, but rather it must be taken as a whole.
An isogloss—also called a heterogloss (see Etymology below)—is the geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or use of some syntactic feature. Major dialects are typically demarcated by groups of isoglosses; for example the Benrath line distinguishes High German from the other West Germanic languages
A spoonerism is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched.While spoonerisms are commonly heard as slips of the tongue resulting from unintentionally getting one's words in a tangle, they can also be used intentionally as a play on words. Spoonerisms are commonly used intentionally in humour.
Linguist Noam Chomsky theorizes that unlimited extension of any natural language is possible using the recursive device of embedding clauses within sentences (Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. 1965). For example, two simple sentences—'Dorothy met the Wicked Witch of the West in Munchkin Land' and 'The Wicked Witch's sister was killed in Munchkin Land'—can be embedded in a third sentence, 'Dorothy liquidated the Wicked Witch with a pail of water,' to obtain a recursive sentence: 'Dorothy, who met the Wicked Witch of the West in Munchkin Land where her sister was killed, liquidated her with a pail of water.'
The idea that recursion is an essential property of human language (as Chomsky suggests) is challenged by linguist Daniel Everett in his work Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã: Another Look at the Design Features of Human Language, in which he hypothesizes that cultural factors made recursion unnecessary in the development of the Pirahã language. This concept, which challenges Chomsky's idea that recursion is the only trait which differentiates human and animal communication, is currently under debate. Andrew Nevins, David Pesetsky and Cilene Rodrigues provide a debate against this proposal.
Ferdinand De Saussure
He was a Swiss linguist whose ideas laid a foundation for many significant developments in linguistics in the 20th century.[2][3] He is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics.The fundamental dimensions of linguistic organization introduced by Saussure are still basic to many approaches to how the phenomenon of language can be approached, even though they have naturally been extended and refined considerably over time.
Cooperative Principle
In social science generally and linguistics specifically, the cooperative principle describes how people interact with one another.
As phrased by Paul Grice, who introduced it, it states, 'Make your contribution such as it is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.'[1] Though phrased as a prescriptive command, the principle is intended as a description of how people normally behave in conversation.
Listeners and speakers must speak cooperatively and mutually accept one another to be understood in a particular way. The cooperative principle describes how effective communication in conversation is achieved in common social situations.
Proto Indo-European
The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. PIE was the first proposed proto-language to be widely accepted by linguists. Far more work has gone into reconstructing it than any other proto-language, and it is by far the most well-understood of all proto-languages at its time depth.
Mass Nouns
a mass noun (also uncountable noun) is a noun with the syntactic property that any quantity of it is treated as an undifferentiated unit, rather than as something with discrete subsets. Non-count nouns are distinguished from count nouns.
Gradable Antonyms
A gradable antonym is one of a pair of words with opposite meanings where the two meanings lie on a continuous spectrum. Temperature is such a continuous spectrum so hot and cold, two meanings on opposite ends of the spectrum, are gradable antonyms. Other examples include: heavy, light; fat, skinny; dark light; young, old; early, late; empty, full; dull, interesting.
Babling Stage
Babbling (also called baby talk or twaddling) is a stage in child development and a state in language acquisition, during which an infant appears to be experimenting with uttering sounds of language, but not yet producing any recognizable words. Babbling begins at approximately 5 to 7 months of age, when a baby's noises begin to sound like phonemes.
clipping is the word formation process which consists in the reduction of a word to one of its parts (Marchand: 1969). Clipping is also known as 'truncation' or 'shortening.clippings are not coined as words belonging to the standard vocabulary of a language. They originate as terms of a special group like schools, army, police, the medical profession, etc., in the intimacy of a milieu where a hint is sufficient to indicate the whole. For example, exam(ination), math(ematics), and lab(oratory) originated in school slang.
Bee's Tail Wagging Dance
The tail wagging portion of the dance indicates both the direction and distance of the flowers. When the bee dances on the vertical face of the comb, straight up is the direction of the sun. The angle the bee runs (from straight up) indicates the angle of the food from the sun. For example a bee that runs straight down when the sun is in the west indicates the food directly east. How long the bee goes forward wagging indicates distance. When the food is less than 300 feet away, the bees omit the tail wagging portion of the dance and merely circle around.
Great English Vowel Shift
The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language that took place in England between 1350 and 1700.The Great Vowel Shift was first studied by Otto Jespersen (1860-1943), a Danish linguist and Anglicist, who coined the term.[2]
Because English spelling was becoming standardised in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Great Vowel Shift is responsible for many of the peculiarities of English spelling.The main difference between the pronunciation of Middle English and Modern English is in the value of the long vowels, described as the Great Vowel Shift.
Logographic Writing
logogram, written or pictorial symbol intended to represent a whole word. Writing systems that make use of logograms include Chinese, Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, and early cuneiform writing systems. No known writing system is totally logographic; all such systems have both logograms and symbols representing particular sounds or syllables.
Dative Movement
Alternation by which an object in another oblique case or a prepositional object is changed into a dative or indirect object: He gave the book to Caroline: He gave Caroline the book.
Agglutinative Language
An agglutinative language is a language that uses agglutination extensively: most words are formed by joining morphemes together. This term was introduced by Wilhelm von Humboldt in 1836 to classify languages from a morphological point of view. It is derived from the Latin verb agglutinare, which means 'to glue together'
Pidgin Language
pidgin language, is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the country in which they reside (but where there is no common language between the groups).
Code Switching
code-switching is switching between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals—people who speak more than one language—sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety.
An infix is an affix inserted inside a word stem (an existing word). It contrasts with adfix, a rare term for an affix attached to the end of a stem, such as a prefix or suffix.
When marking text for interlinear glossing, most affixes are separated with a hyphen, but infixes are separated with ⟨angle brackets⟩.
WH- Movement
is a mechanism of syntax that helps express a question (or form a relative clause). Sentences or clauses containing a wh-word show a special word order that has the wh-word (or phrase containing the wh-word) appearing at the front of the sentence or clause, e.g Who do you think about?, instead of in a more canonical position further to the right, e.g. I think about you. The term wh-movement is used because most English interrogative words start with wh-, for example, who(m), whose, what, which, etc.
Inflectional Morphemes
Inflectional morphemes modify a verb's tense or a noun's number without affecting the word's meaning or class. Examples of applying inflectional morphemes to words are adding -s to the root dog to form dogs and adding -ed to wait to form waited.
Prescriptive Grammar
A set of norms or rules governing how a language should or should not be used rather than describing the ways in which a language is actually used i.e descriptive grammar.
Maxim of Quantity
One of the four maxims of the cooperative principle as proposed by Paul Grice, to maintain this maxim one must (make his contribution as informative as necessary for the current purposes of the exchange, but no more informative than necessary).
Prototype theory is a mode of graded categorization in cognitive science, where some members of a category are more central than others. For example, when asked to give an example of the concept furniture, chair is more frequently cited than, say, stool. Prototype theory has also been applied in linguistics, as part of the mapping from phonological structure to semantics.
Syllable Coda
The coda comprises the consonant sounds of a syllable that follow the nucleus, which is usually a vowel. The combination of a nucleus and a coda is called a rime. Some syllables consist only of a nucleus with no coda. Some languages' phonotactics limit syllable codas to a small group of single consonants, whereas others allow any consonant phoneme or even clusters of consonants.It is the Final segment of a syllable between the nucleus2 and the head of the following syllable, e.g. [t] in bitter, [d] in head.
J.L.Austin's term which, in the first stage of his speech act theory, refers to utterances in the uttering of which, in appropriate circumstances, one performs particular actions. Performatives contrast with constative utterances, which describe actions or states.
Bound Morpheme
a bound morpheme is a morpheme that only appears as part of a larger word; a free or unbound morpheme is one that can stand alone.Affixes are always bound in English, although languages such as Arabic have forms which sometimes affix to words and sometimes can stand alone. English language affixes are almost exclusively prefixes or suffixes.
Generative Grammar
Generative grammar arguably originates in the work of Noam Chomsky, beginning in the late 1950s. A generative grammar of a language attempts to give a set of rules that will correctly predict which combinations of words will form grammatical sentences. In most approaches to generative grammar, the rules will also predict the morphology of a sentence.
Place of Articulation
the place of articulation (also point of articulation) of a consonant is the point of contact where an obstruction occurs in the vocal tract between an articulatory gesture, an active articulator (typically some part of the tongue), and a passive location (typically some part of the roof of the mouth). Along with the manner of articulation and the phonation, this gives the consonant its distinctive sound.
Phrasal Head
the head of a phrase is the word that determines the syntactic type of that phrase or analogously the stem that determines the semantic category of a compound of which it is a part. The other elements modify the head and are therefore the head's dependents.
Speech sound having an incomplete closure of the oral cavity. If there is friction,
the sound is a fricative; without friction it is an approximant.
Thorn Letter
Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ) is a letter in the Old English, Gothic, Old Norse, and Icelandic alphabets, as well as some dialects of Middle English. It was also used in medieval Scandinavia, but was later replaced with the digraph th
Conversational Implicature
Implicature is a technical term coined by H. P. Grice, which refers to what is suggested in an utterance, even though neither expressed nor strictly implied by the utterance.Paul Grice identified three types of general conversational implicature:
1. The speaker deliberately flouts a conversational maxim to convey an additional meaning not expressed literally.
2. The speaker's desire to fulfill two conflicting maxims results in his or her flouting one maxim to invoke the other.
3. The speaker invokes a maxim as a basis for interpreting the utterance
functional head containing (in English) °auxiliaries and/or tense and/or agreement features.More recently, INFL has been reinterpreted as a conflation of two separate heads °AGR(eement) and °T(ense).
Denotation vs Connotation
Words can have several meanings. The literal meanings, the denotation, are direct, realistic, and often found in the dictionary. What the word suggests or implies, the connotation, is symbolic, culturally constructed, and often influences the interpretation of poetry or literature. For example, the denotations of the word snake might be 'reptile,' 'scaly,' or 'without legs.' Connotations of the word, however, might include 'treachery,' 'evil,' or 'betrayal.'
a presupposition is an implicit assumption about the world or background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse. Examples of presuppositions include:
Jane no longer writes fiction.
Presupposition: Jane once wrote fiction.
Basic syntactic relation in the description of the hierarchical structure of sentences: between two elements A and B occurring in a linear fashion there holds the relation of constituency, if and only if they are both dominated by a common element C ( domination). Constituent structure grammar is based on this relation.
Roman Jakobson
He was a Russian linguist and literary theorist,and as one of the first of the structural analysis of language, which became the dominant trend of linguistics during the first half of the twentieth-century, Jakobson was among the most influential linguists of the century. Influenced by the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, Jakobson developed, with Nikolai Trubetzkoy, techniques for the analysis of sound systems in languages, inaugurating the discipline of phonology. He went on to apply the same techniques of analysis to syntax and morphology, and controversially proposed that they be extended to semantics
aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin [pʰɪn] and then bin [bɪn]. One should either feel a puff of air or see a flicker of the candle flame with pin that one does not get with bin.
Wernicke's Area
It is one of the two parts of the cerebral cortex linked since the late nineteenth century to speech (the other is Broca's area). It is involved in the understanding of written and spoken language.
Yes No question
a yes-no question, formally known as a polar question, is a question whose expected answer is either 'yes' or 'no'. Formally, they present an exclusive disjunction, a pair of alternatives of which only one is acceptable. In English, such questions can be formed in both positive and negative forms (e.g. 'Will you be here tomorrow?' and 'Won't you be here tomorrow?').[1]
Competence vs Performance
Chomsky separates 'competence,' an idealized capacity, from the production of actual utterances, 'performance.' Additionally, competence, being an ideal, is located as a psychological or mental property or function. This is in contrast to performance, which refers to an actual event.
He was a Sanskrit grammarian,Pāṇini is known for his Sanskrit grammar, particularly for his formulation of the 3,959 rules[2] of Sanskrit morphology, syntax and semantics in the grammar.
portmanteau word is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes, and their definitions, into one new word.A portmanteau word generally combines both sounds and meanings, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog.
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers.The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class.A dialect that is associated with a particular social class can be termed a sociolect; a regional dialect may be termed a regiolect or topolect. The other usage refers to a language socially subordinate to a regional or national standard language, often historically cognate to the standard, but not a variety of it or in any other sense derived from it
the rebus principle means using existing symbols, such as pictograms, purely for their sounds regardless of their meaning, to represent new words. Many ancient writing systems used the rebus principle to represent abstract words, which otherwise would be hard to be represented by pictograms.
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of [f]; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German [x].
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as [t] or [d]) but release as a fricative (such as [s] or [z] or occasionally into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel. English has two affricates, spelled ch and j.
Nasal Stops
a nasal, also called a nasal occlusive, nasal stop in contrast with a nasal fricative, or nasal continuant, is an occlusive consonant produced with a lowered velum, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasals in English are [n] and [m], in words such as nose and mouth. Nasal occlusives are nearly universal in human languages.
An alphabetically or semantically ordered list of words for a language, dialect, or sociolect, or a list of terminology for a specific discipline. Such lists are generally compiled as reference works.
In generative semantics, the lexicon is composed of syntactically structured complexes of the smallest semantic building blocks.
The term antonym (and the related antonymy) is commonly taken to be synonymous with opposite, but antonym also has other more restricted meanings. Graded (or gradable) antonyms are word pairs whose meanings are opposite and which lie on a continuous spectrum (hot, cold). Complementary antonyms are word pairs whose meanings are opposite but whose meanings do not lie on a continuous spectrum (push, pull). Relational antonyms are word pairs where opposite makes sense only in the context of the relationship between the two meanings (teacher, pupil).
Surface Structure
In transformational grammar, the outward form of a sentence. In contrast to deep structure (an abstract representation of a sentence), surface structure corresponds to the version of a sentence that can be spoken and heard.
In linguistics, co-reference occurs when multiple expressions in a sentence or document refer to the same thing; or in linguistic jargon, they have the same 'referent.'For example, in the sentence 'Mary said she would help me', 'she' and 'Mary' are most likely referring to the same person or group, in which case they are coreferent.
Thematic Roles
thematic relations is a term used to express the role that a noun phrase plays with respect to the action or state described by a sentence's verb. For example, in the sentence 'Susan ate an apple', Susan is the doer of the eating, so she is an agent; the apple is the item that is eaten, so it is a patient. While most modern linguistic theories make reference to such relations in one form or another, the general term, as well as the terms for specific relations, varies; 'participant role', 'semantic role', and 'deep case' have been used analogously to 'thematic role'.
Minimal Attachment
In psycholinguistics, the theory that listeners and readers initially attempt to interpret sentences in terms of the simplest syntactic structure consistent with the input that's known at the moment.
Although numerous researchers have confirmed the minimal attachment principle for a variety of sentence types, others have demonstrated that the principle does not apply in all cases.
Social Network
A social network is another way of describing a particular speech community in terms of relations between individual members in a community. A network could be loose or tight depending on how members interact with each other.[8] For instance, an office or factory may be considered a tight community because all members interact with each other. A large course with 100+ students would be a looser community because students may only interact with the instructor and maybe 1-2 other students.
refers to a situation in which two dialects or usually closely related languages are used by a single language community. In addition to the community's everyday or vernacular language variety (labeled 'L' or 'low' variety), a second, highly codified variety (labeled 'H' or 'high') is used in certain situations such as literature, formal education, or other specific settings, but not used for ordinary conversation.
In contemporary cognitive linguistics, an image schema is considered an embodied prelinguistic structure of experience that motivates conceptual metaphor mappings. Evidence for image schemata is drawn from a number of related disciplines, including work on cross-modal cognition in psychology, from spatial cognition in both linguistics and psychology, and from neuroscience.
Epistemic Context
epistemic context refers to what speakers know about the world. For example, what background knowledge is shared by the speakers is crucially part of your epistemic knowledge when you have a conversation with someone else?