IB English Lit - Language Terms
Words our IB teacher (who graduated from Oxford and has a PhD) suggested to us that we know - HL IB English Literature!
Terms in this set (133)
word choice - especially with regard to connotation, correctness, clearness, or effectiveness. Combined with syntax, literary devices, etc. to create style.
The writer's attitude toward the subject or sometimes the audience.
The emotional response that a piece of literature stimulates in the reader.
The manner in which an author uses words, shapes, ideas, forms, and sentences and creates a structure to convey ideas.
The real or assumed personality used by a writer or speaker.
Figure of Speech
Imaginative comparisons used for tone, purpose, effect.
figure of speech that directly addresses an absent person, an object, or an abstraction
Greek for "good speech." More agreeable or less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept.
similarity or comparison between two things or the relationship between them. Can explain something by pointing out its similarity or associating it with something more familiar.
terse statement that expresses a general truth or moral principle
Deliberate exaggeration or overstatement.
sensory details used to described, arouse emotion, or repeat abstractions.
Metaphor developed at great length, appearing frequently throughout a piece.
Greek meaning "changed label." Figure of speech in which the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with it.
Greek for "pointedly foolish." Author groups two apparently contradictory terms to suggest a paradox.
Statement that appears self-contradictory or opposed to common sense but on closer inspection contains some degree of truth or validity. Enigma.
figure of speech that endows animal, concept, or inanimate object with human attributes.
An overused or trite expression.
An adjective or adjectival phrase used to define a characteristic quality or attribute of some person or thing. Ex: Rosy-fingered Dawn.
A common expression that has acquired a meaning that differs from its literal meaning such as "It's raining cats and dogs."
A form of understatement in which a statement is affirmed by negating its opposite. "He is not unfriendly."
A play on words that exploits the similarity in sound between two words with distinctly different meanings.
A form of metonymy in which a part of an entity is used to refer to the whole.
A saying or proverb embodying a piece of common wisdom based on experience and often couched in metaphorical language.
A saying or proverb expressing common wisdom or truth.
French phrase for double meaning, denotes a pun in which a word or phrase has a second meaning which tends to be sexual.
emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language.
Adjective that describes words, phrases, or general tone that is overly scholarly, academic, or bookish. Extreme of didactic.
from Greek, literally means "teaching." Works have primary aim of teaching or instructing, especially moral or ethical principles.
Greek meaning "to tear flesh" Bitter, caustic language meant to hurt/ ridicule.
A form of wordplay that displays cleverness or ingenuity with language. Often, but not always, wit displays humour.
Refined and tender emotion in literature; sometimes used derisively to represent insincerity or mawkishness.
Similar to truth; the quality of realism in a work that persuades the reader that he/she is getting a vision of life as it is.
slang or informality in speaking or writing. Includes local dialect
non-literal, associative meanings of a word. What we think of when we hear a word.
strict, literal, dictionary definition
Local language or dialect of common speech written in local language or dialect.
A sophisticated or educated speaker who uses abstract nouns or complex figures of speech and demands greater intellectual effort from the audience.
A simpler, less cultivated speaker who uses literal nouns and less grammatical complexity than high diction.
Distinct variety of language spoken by members of an identifiable regional group, nation or social class.
Inflated language; the use of high-sounding language for a trivial subject.
Branch of linguistics that studies meaning and development of words and their relationship.
The use of specific types of words, phrases, or literary structures that are not common in contemporary speech or prose.
direct or indirect reference to something commonly known such as a book, event, myth, place, person or work of art to convey tone, purpose, or effect
Contrast between what is stated explicitly and what is really meant.
A discrepancy between the true meaning of a situation and the literal meaning of the written or spoken words.
A situation that is the opposite of what the reader expects.
A technique in which the author lets the audience or reader in on a character's situation while the character himself remains in the dark. When used in a tragedy, dramatic irony is called tragic irony.
The perception of fate or the universe as malicious or indifferent to human suffering, which creates a painful contrast between our purposeful activity and its ultimate meaninglessness.
A recurring structure, contrast, or other device that develops or informs a work's major themes.
The brief narration of a single event or incident.
As opposed to abstract, concrete refers to something that actually exists and can be seen and known.
Refers to a total objectivity of a writer wherein his/her view
The incorporation of an event, scene, or person who does not correspond with the time period portrayed in the work.
A grotesque likeness of striking characteristics in persons or things.
Point of View
Perspective from which a story is told.
From the Greek word for "feeling." The quality in a work of literature that evokes high emotion, most commonly sorrow, pity or compassion.
An object, character, figure, or color that is used to represent an abstract idea or concept.
A fundamental and universal idea explored in a literary work.
The emotional mood created by the entirety of a literature work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described.
Major category into which a literary work fits.
literally means sermon, but can include any serious talk involving moral or spiritual advice.
Telling of a story or an account of an event.
Writing intended to re-create, invent, or visually present a person, place, or event.
Song or poem of mourning or lamentation.
A humorous imitation of a serious work of literature. The humour often arises from the incongruity between the limitation and the work being imitated.
An autobiographical work. Rather than focusing on the author's life, it pays significant attention to the author's involvement in historical events and the characterisation of individuals other than the author.
A humorous and often satirical imitation of the style or particular work of another author.
A work that aims to ridicule the shortcomings of individuals, institutions, or society, often to make a political point.
A very brief synopsis of longer work of scholarship or research. The abstract of an entire book may be reduced to a single page. Also something that does not exist in the real world.
A highly regarded work of literature or other art form that has withstood the test of time.
A piece of writing, often journalistic, meant to reveal or expose weakness, faults, frailties, or other shortcomings.
A violent, satirical attack against a person or institution.
device of using character and/or elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to the literal meaning. Author may intend characters to personify an abstraction like hope or freedom. Usually deals with a moral truth or generalisation about human existence.
clear connection among all parts of an essay. Achieved by organisational format and appropriate connecting devices (transition, parallel structures, bridging).
Explaining and analysing information by presenting an idea, relevant evidence, and appropriate discussion.
Any language that is not poetry or drama.
Greek for orator - principles governing art of writing effectively, eloquently, persuasively.
Variety, conventions, and purposes of major kinds of writing.
The central argument that an author makes in a work. Although the term is primarily associated with nonfiction, it can apply to fiction.
A close reading of a text that identifies and explains the figurative language and forms found within the work.
The various relationships a text may have with other texts, through allusions, borrowing of formal or thematic elements, or simply by reference to traditional literary forms. The term is important to structuralist and post-structuralist critics, who argue that texts relate primarily to one another and not to an external reality.
The liberty that authors sometimes take with ordinary rules of grammar and syntax, employing unusual vocabulary, metrical devices, or figures of speech or committing factual errors in order to strengthen a passage of writing.
The rhetorical opposition or contrast of words, clauses, or sentences (JFK: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.")
A rhetorical figure of repetition in which the same word or phrase is repeated in (and usually at the beginning of) successive lines, clauses or sentences.
A confused, comically inaccurate use of a long word or words. (Ex. Romeo and Juliet the nurse says "I desire some confidence with you sir")
A question asked for the sake of persuasive effect rather than a genuine request for information. The writer implies the answer is too obvious to require a reply.
A form of verbal compression which consists of the omission of connecting words (usually conjunctions) between clauses.
The rising and falling rhythm of speech especially in free verse or prose.
The roundabout manner of referring to something at length rather than naming it briefly and directly.
A temporary departure from one subject to another more or less distantly related topic before the discussion of the first subject is resumed
multiple meanings - intentional or not - of a work, phrase, sentence, or passage
Duplication of any element of language - sound, word, phrase, clause, pattern...
Rhetorical device in which the speaker suddenly breaks off in the middle of a sentence leaving the sentence unfinished.
An elaborate and roundabout manner of speech that uses more words than necessary. ("I appear to be entirely without financial resources," instead of "I'm broke.")
Three periods (...) indicating the omission of words.
an assertion based on fact, statistics, or logical reasoning
an inference or conclusion
"for" or "against" stance taken by an author in a persuasive essay
way of thinking, using general observations that lead to a specific conclusion (like Sherlock Holmes)
Used to support writer's thesis - proof.
Draw a reasonable conclusion based on information presented.
Writing to prove validity of an idea or point of view.
Type of argumentation having additional aim of urging a particular form of action.
Form of logical thinking used to analyse an author's credibility. Established by appealing to emotion, avoiding a hostile tone, and demonstrating knowledge of subject.
A work of didactic literature that aims to influence the reader on a specific social or political issue.
Error in assuming that because two things are alike in some ways, they are alike in all ways.
Unsound inductive inference based on insufficient, inadequate, unspecified evidence.
A statement or idea that fails to follow logically from the one before.
because one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other.
Instead of attacking an assertion, the argument attacks the person who made the assertion.
Way an author chooses to join words into phrases, clauses, sentences.
word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun (Eg. The critique of Plato's Republic was written from a contemporary point of view. It was an in-depth analysis of Plato's opinions about possible governmental forms.)
grammatical unit containing subject and verb. Independent and dependent
Type of sentence in which main idea comes first, followed by dependent grammatical units (phrases and clauses).
Grammatical or rhetorical framing of words, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity. Attracts the reader's attention, adds emphasis and organisation, or rhythm. (Ex. "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." -JFK)
Sentence that presents central meaning in a main clause at the end. Ind. clause preceded by phrase or dependent clause. Adds emphasis and variety.
Adjective that follows linking verb and compliments subject.
Noun that follows linking verb and renames subject.
Group of words with subject and verb that cannot stand alone.
The manner in which grammatical elements are arranged in a sentence. Although there are endless varieties of sentence, each is a variation on one of the three basic structures: simple, compound, or complex.
Contains a subject and a verb along with modifiers and perhaps an object.
It consists of two or more simple sentences liked by a coordinating conjunction such as and or but.
It is made up of an independent, or main, clause and any number of dependent or subordinate clauses.
The subject of the sentence is doing something (Ex. They carried the body out of the kitchen and laid it on the sofa.)
Something is being done to the subject of the sentence. (Ex. The body was carried from the kitchen and placed on the sofa.)
The word (with any accompanying phrases) or clauses that follow a linking verb and complements, or completes, the subject of the sentence by either (1) remaining it or (2) describing it. The former is technically called a predicate nominative, the latter a predicate adjective.
Word that is identical in form with another word either in sound or spelling but differs from it in meaning.
A word that is pronounced in the same way as another word but differs in meaning and or spelling. Thus, a kind of homonym.
The omission of a letter or syllable
A type of elision in which a letter or syllable is omitted at the beginning of a word, as 'twas for it was.
A type of elision in which a word is contracted by removing one or more letters or syllables from the middle
A type of elision in which a letter or syllable is omitted at the end of a word, as in morn for morning