An abbreviation is shortened form of a word, often but not always followed by some type of punctuation. ex: prof for professor Other types of abbreviations include acronyms (FIMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency), contractions (cannot-can’t), and initialisms (FBI-Federal Bureau of Investigation).
The ablative case originally marked any noun, pronoun, or in some languages, adjectives, as moving away from, or separation from an entity. Other cases have been merged with the ‘true’ ablative, e.g., locative case (in, at, to) and associative-instrumental case (with, by) such that it now marks noun phrases as an instrument, location or source of the action of the verb, or cause.
An absolute universal refers to a property that is found in all languages, e.g., all languages can form questions, negation, and commands. Universals are found across all domains of languages. For example, all languages have consonants and vowels, which are used to form syllables, which are then used to build words or phrases.
The absolutive case is used primarily in absolute-ergative grammar systems to mark the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb. It can also be used in languages that have both the absolute-ergative and nominal-accusative grammar systems.
An abugida, sometimes referred to as an alphasyllabary or syllabic alphabet is constructed of symbols that represent a sound unit generally consisting of a consonant and a vowel. Vowels can be altered by adding various diacritics. Vowels that are word initial have their own symbol. Other alterations are made for words beginning with adjacent consonants. Languages that use this system include Bengali, Tibetan, Thai, and Burmese.
An accent involves the articulation of sounds in specific phonological environments that differ from a standard. There are several types. 1) Dialectal: pronunciation characteristic of a specific region or people group who speak the same language, e.g., British vs. American accent. 2) Foreign: The pronunciation of a language by a non-native speaker, e.g., a native Japanese speaker who has an accent when speaking English.
An accidental gap is a form of a non-word or morpheme which is well formed according to language-specific phonological but does not existent in the language. Ex: brick
The accusative case marks the object of transitive verbs. V head assigns accusative case to its complement sister NP.
The term ‘acoustic’ refers to the physical aspect of sound production and sound perception, i.e., sound waves, frequencies, hertz, etc.
Acoustic phonetics is the study of the physical properties of sounds during production and perception. This includes, periodicity, frequencies, formants, etc. Much of this work is carried out using a spectrogram.
An acoustic signal is any sound or noise that carries coded information to a reception mechanism, e.g., eardrum, which is decoded based on the physical properties the of sound.
An acronym a lexical item formed by the first letter of each of the words of a phrase. ex. NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA has become a lexical entry (word) for Most speakers of English, (and around the world).
Active voice refers to a verb form in which the subject of the verb carries out or undergoes the action of the verb. ex: Jack hit Jill, Jack laughed out loud.
An adjective is syntactic and lexical category of words that modify a noun by answering the questions: 1) which one 2) what kind 3) how many ex: The lady sang with a ‘lovely’ voice.
adjective (adjectival) phrase
An adjectival phrase is a syntactic phrasal category whose head is an adjective, which modifies a noun. An adjectival phrase often consists of one word. i.e., beautiful, chilly, etc., however may contain an adverb in Spec position. ex: very beautiful, slightly chilly.
In syntax, an adjunct is an optional constituent within a sentence, clause or phrase, used for embellishment. It can be removed from a phrase without incurring an ungrammatical structure. ex: Brian did his homework in the library. (where ‘in the library’ is an adjunct)
An adverb is a syntactic, lexical category of words that modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs by answering the questions: 1) how 2) when 3) where 4) to what extent. ex: (how) Jill ran quickly. (to what extent) Jill ran very quickly. (where) The lady next-door gave us cookies on Halloween.
An affix is a bound morpheme that attaches to a root or stem. Types of affixes include including prefixes, suffixes, circumfixes, and infixes. suffix: open-ed prefix: re-affirmed Each language has specific rules concerning the formation and usage of affixes.
An affricate is a complex sound which has an initial a stop closure that is followed by a fricative release. ex: English /ʧ/ or /č/ as in /ʧʌŋk/ ‘chunk’ There are many combinations of affricates across the world’s language, which consist of a stop closure and fricative release. Polish: /ʈʂ/ German: /pf/ New York English: /t̪θ/
African American English AAE
African American English is a widespread dialect of English spoken by individuals of genetic African descent.
In syntax and semantics, the agent is the noun phrase, or argument that intentionally carries out the action of certain types of verbs. The examples below show 3 verb types with their respective ‘agents’ surrounded by apostrophes. transitive verb: ‘Peter’ painted the house. intransitive verb: ‘Francine’ laughed out loud. ditransitive verb: The winter coats were donated to the homeless shelter by ‘the sorority’.
Grammatical agreement is governed by the morphosyntactic constraints, or rules, of any given language. Agreement is most often marked by some type of an inflection on a word or words that are in agreement in terms of properties they both bear. For instance, Ecuadorian Kichwa, a verb must bear inflection showing the number of its subject. Ñuka ri -n -ni 1P go PRES 1P I go. In this example, the verb ‘go’ is marked with ‘1P’, which shows its agreement with the subject, which is also ‘1P’.
Alethic is a verbal modality that is used to indicate when a speaker is stating a truth, possibility, or necessity based on logical reasoning. ex: George can’t be the king since he’s not from royal descent. The modal ‘can’t be’ shows the logical impossibility of the above statement being true.
An algorithm is a system of breaking down into logical, incremental steps a process of problem-solving or explaining in detail how to reach a conclusion. Algorithms can be systematic or random. In either case, there are clear directions to follow in order to arrive at a final stage.
An allomorph is a variation of an underlying form of a morpheme. For example, in the case where two (or more) phonetic realizations of a single morpheme are possible, one will be underlying (default) while the other will only surface in a specific phonological environment. ex: [d], [t], [əd] are allomorphs of the past tense in Standard English: pleased [plizd], passed [pæst], treated [triɾəd]
An allophone is a variation of a phoneme that has undergone a phonological process, often based on the phonological environment in which it surfaces, and which a speaker is unaware of using in natural speech. ex: In Standard English, [pʰ] is an allophone of the phoneme /p/. pit – [pʰɪt] vs. tip – [tɪp]. In word initial position /p/ is aspirated whereas in final position it is not.
Alphabetic writing is a system in which written symbols represent sounds.
An alternation exists when variants of two or more elements can be observed, dependent upon grammatical environment. Allophones are considered ‘alternates’ of a single phone. [s] after a final consonant [-voice] vs. [z] after a final consonant [+voice].
The term alveolar refers to a place of articulation in which a sound is produced by the tongue blade coming into contact with the alveolar ridge. ex: /t, d, s, z, n/
The alveolar ridge is the section of the roof of the mouth (hard palate) directly behind the teeth. It is referred to as a ridge since it dips down before rising into the hard palate.
The term ambiguous is used when there is uncertainty as to the reading or meaning of a word, phrase, or sentence. For instance, some phrases/sentences may be interpreted in one of two ways: ‘I can’t get over that fence’ could mean that I can not move my body up and over the fence, or that I can’t believe how beautiful it is. Others have only one reading, however, due to the syntactic structure, the meaning is not clear at first: ‘The British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands’ initially is interpreted as though certain British individuals left waffles (food) on the Islands. Since this interpretation makes no sense, a second (or third) analysis will take place until the phrase makes sense. Ambiguity can be lexical/semantic in nature, e.g., ‘Superman eats everything with relish’. ‘Relish’ can mean delight or refer to a green condiment. Ambiguity can be structural/syntactic, e.g., ‘Harriet hit the dog with the stick’. Either Harriet used a stick (in which case the prepositional phrase ‘with the stick’ modifies the verb) or she hit the dog who possessed a stick (in which case the prepositional phrase modifies the dog).
An anacoluthon is an abrupt change in a grammatical form (usually in syntax concerning the structure of a sentence) used to capture the attention of the reader/listener. Ex: ‘You should have taken your medicine…oh what do I care?’
An anaphor (plural form: anaphora) is a noun phrase that is bound to its antecedent in order to derive meaning. In the example below, she refers back to Mary. ex: Mary has decided that she is going to spend the weekend at the beach. Anaphora are usually some type of pronoun form or deictic expression.
Anaptyxis is a phonological process in which a vowel is inserted between two successive consonants. Ex: the pronunciation of ‘realtor’ as ‘realator’
The term anomalous describes a word, phrase, or sentence that is semantically ill formed such that it does not make sense. Ex: The pot made a cup of tea. We find these often in nursery rhymes. (The cow jumped over the moon.)
A anomaly is a deviation from semantic rules resulting in phrases or sentences which do not make sense. Ex: And the dish ran away with the spoon.
An antecedent is a noun to which a pronoun refers. Ex: Peter is mean. He (Peter is the antecedent) is always harassing his students.
Anterior is the term used to describe phonemes (consonants) whose place of articulation is in front of the palato-alveolar region. In Standard English such phonemes include bilabials /m, p, b/, interdentals /θ, ð/, and alveolar /t, d, s, z, n, l, ɹ/.
Antonyms are word pairs that are considered opposites is due to the binary nature of the semantic features they bear. They can be gradable, or context dependent, e.g., ‘happy/sad’, complementary, or not context dependent, e.g., ‘dead/alive’, or relational opposites such you cannot be one without having the other, e.g., ‘student/professor.’ Relational opposites can also be referred to a ‘converseness’ and include verbs, e.g., ‘take/give’.
Apheresis is a phonological process in which the initial vowel of a word is deleted; sometimes used to refer to the loss of any initial sound. ex: /əbawt/ – ‘about’ becomes [bawt] ‘baut’.
Apocope is a phonological process in which the final sound of a word/phrase, often a vowel, is deleted. Ex. French /tablə/ –> [tabl] ‘table’.
The term /apodictic, or apodeictic, is a term from Aristotelean Logic, used to describe a statement that is necessarily, incontestably, or unquestionably true, due to it having been, or being able to be demonstrated as such. ex: Superman’s demonstrated his apodictic bravery when he risked his life to save Lois from death.
Apposition is a syntactic relationship between two entities that share the same referent. ex: Lois is a reporter. Both noun phrases ‘Lois’ and ‘reporter’ refer to the same person.
Apraxia is a motor speech disorder caused by damage to the posterior parietal cortex. Individuals with apraxia exhibit a delay between the presentation of a stimulus and the initiation of a motor response, or, in other words, the ability to use articulators to respond.
The term arbitrary is used when referring to the fact that there is no natural or inherent relationship between two linguistic forms, e.g., spelling and meaning.
An archiphoneme is an abstract category used to symbolize a phoneme which does not have a contrastive counterpart, such as in the case of neutralization in German in which word final stops are devoiced. This term may also refer to a pair of phonemes that share all distictive features except one, such as voicing in the following example. /t/ and /d/
Argot is a type of specialized vocabulary used by a specific group of people, e.g. musicians, lawyers, etc.
An argument is any NP that is essential to the grammatical usage of a verb. Verbs assign thematic roles to their arguments. ex: John loves cars. Both ‘John’ and ‘cars’ are arguments of the verb ‘loves’.
In syntax, an article is the referred to as a determiner, a word that modifies an NP by specifying its reference. ex: ‘a’ hat, ‘the’ hat, ‘my’ hat, ‘that’ hat, etc.
An articulation disorder is a speech disorders that is defined by atypical production of speech sounds and may be characterized by phonological processes such as substituting one sound for another, or omitting or adding sounds. This type of disorder often interferes with intelligibility.
Articulators are the physiological parts of the vocal tract that move towards and away from each other altering airflow during speech production. These include the lips, teeth, tongue, and velum (soft palate).
Articulatory phonetics is a sub-category of phonetics that focuses on the study of the production of speech sounds by examining the movement patterns of the articulators.
Aspiration is a secondary feature of certain obstruents in which a puff of air is produced during the release stage. An example in English is voiceless stops, which become aspirated word initially or when found in the onset of a stressed syllable. /tim/ → [tʰim] ‘team’ /atɛst/ → [ətʰɛst] ‘attest’
In phonology, assimilation is a process 9phonological rule) by which the feature(s) of one (or more) phoneme(s) is spread to an adjacent phoneme to facilitate articulation. ex: vowel becomes [+nasal] before a consonant [+nasal] /ston/ → [stõn] ‘stone’ Here, the vowel assimilates to the manner of articulation of a subsequent phoneme.
A asterisk is a symbol used in linguistics to denote ungrammaticality. (*) ex: *told fire in the door. *Was the boy who sleeping is awake?
This term refers to the lexical aspect of a verb/predicate, which denotes that there is no endpoint to an action. In 1), there is no inference as to when the action of the verb will come to an end. 1) I thought about his comment. The test for an atelic verb lies in the semantic features of the object of the verb. In 2), the passing of the clouds in the sky could continue indefinitely, thus the verb ‘watch’ is used in atelic aspect, as opposed to 3), in which the watching direct object ‘documentary’ will come to an end when the movie is over. 2) Harriet watched the clouds. 3) Harriet watched the documentary.
This is a method of teaching a second language through repetition and reinforcement without using the learner’s native language.
Auditory feedback is an element of speech production in which the speaker verifies that that his/her output matches the target, or intended sound. This is a very crucial stage in language acquisition.
Auditory phonetics is a sub-category of phonetics that focuses on the study of how speech sounds are heard/perceived and decoded.
‘Aux’ is a syntactic, non-lexical category for auxiliary and modal verbs. In non-Xbar theory, it is the head of S (Sentence).
Often called ‘helping verbs’, auxiliary verbs modify lexical verbs by showing tense, mode, or aspect. ex: I ‘am’ going to study. We ‘have’ seen the film twice.