Accent   The mode of utterance or pronunciation peculiar to an individual or locality, including stress, tone and pitch.

Accusative   The grammatical case which expresses the destination of the action signified by a verb.

Angles   A Northern European people from the Jutland peninsula speaking a West Germanic dialect of the proto-English type; known to themselves as "Engle". They gave their name to the English language.

Argot   The jargon, slang or peculiar phraseology of a class; originally that of thieves and vagabonds.

Aspirated   The manner of articulation of a consonant whereby an audible rush of air accompanies the production of the consonant.

Auxiliary language   A third language used as a means of communication by speakers from two different language groups (see Lingua Franca).

Brittonic   The earlier language of lowland Britain: its descendents being Welsh, Breton, Cornish and Cumbric. Often referred to less correctly as Brythonic.

Celt or Kelt   The generic name of a people, the bulk of whom lived in the central and western part of Europe. Ancient writers applied the term Celt to folk of great stature, with fair hair and blue or grey eyes. Queen Boadicea, strictly "Boudicca", said to have been a red-headed six footer, is representative. In Britain the most Celtic type is to be found in the South of England.

Celtic   The languages and cultures of the continental Celts and related peoples in Britain and Ireland.

Conventional Spelling   One established by the need for grammatical consistency rather than by orthography.

Colloquial   Pertaining to or used in common conversation.

Common-Irish   The shared literary language used by educated people in Scotland and Ireland prior to the evangelising of the Highlands at the end of the 18th Century.

Consonant Cluster   e.g. "strengths, twelfths".

Copula   The word that unites the subject and the predicate of a sentence.

Creole   A pidgin which has been adopted as a mother tongue. New Guinea pidgin English is the best known example.

Diacritic   A mark added to a letter or symbol indicating a change in its usual pronunciation, e.g. è, é, ê, ë.

Dialect   Any variety of a language including the standard or literary form.

Diaphone   All the different forms of a phoneme that collectively occur in all the dialects of a language.

Digraph   Two letters denoting one sound: /ph/ in "digraph".

Diphthong   A union of two vowels pronounced in one syllable.

Dvorak   Keyboard layout designed in 1936 by August Dvorak and William Dealey.

Ellipsis   The omission of a word, or part of a sentence, as being understood by the reader.

Engle   See Angles

Erse   An early Scottish variant of the word "Irish".

Esperanto   See Chapter 5 for main reference.

Etymology   The facts relating to the formation or derivation of a word.

Euphony   Phonetic tendency towards ease of pronunciation and a pleasing acoustic effect.

Farsi   Modern Persian - the official language of Iran.

Friese   A language of about 300,000 speakers in Northern Holland, Schleswig, Jutland and over 20 islands in the North Sea. Mutually intelligible with English until the 15th Century. Gives some indication of what a pure form of English would have been like.

Genitive   Noun case expressing origin or possession, e.g. "Rome's citizens, John's book".

Glosa   An update of "Interglossa" - the elementary Greek and Latin based constructed language invented by Hogben.

Goidelic   The earlier language of Ireland: its descendants being Modern Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx.

Grammar   A system of principles for speaking and writing.

Homonyms   Words with different meanings written and pronounced the same.

Homographs   Words with different meanings written the same but pronounced differently.

Homophones   Words with different meanings written differently but pronounced the same.

Ideogram, Ideograph   A symbol signifying meaning directly and visually, e.g. a Chinese character.

Ideogrammatic, Ideographic   Conveying meaning rather than sound. English spelling is perhaps more ideogrammatic than phonemic - making minimal reference to the parallel phonetic system of speech.

Idiom   The language of a particular nation or region; or a mode of expression peculiar to a nation or region. An expression characteristic of a particular language which is not logically or grammatically explicable.

Idiomatic   Mother-tongue competence, whether or not it is the speaker's first language.

Indo-European   A family of languages characteristic of Europe and India. English and Hindi belong to it. Finnish and Tamil do not. Latin, Greek and Persian were descended from it.

Inflection   The modification of the form of a word including the declension of nouns, adjectives and pronouns, and the conjugation of verbs.

International Phonetic Alphabet (I P A)   A set of phonetic symbols for international use introduced in the late 19th Century, constructed on the basis of the Roman and Greek alphabets with the addition of special symbols and diacritics to indicate fine distinctions in sounds, e.g.  nasalisation of vowels, lengths, stress and tones.

Intonation   Modulation, or the rise and fall in pitch of the voice.

Ladino   An old-fashioned form of Spanish spoken by Sephardic Jews.

Lexicon   A word-book or dictionary. A vocabulary of terms used in connection with a particular subject.

Lingua franca   A language used as a means of communication by speakers who do not have a native language in common (see Auxiliary Language).

Linguistic   Pertaining to languages.

Metonym   A word used in a transferred sense, e.g. "the bottle" for "drink".

Monophthong   A single vowel sound.

Mood   A variable verb function expressing predication (indicative), command (imperative), potential or volition (subjunctive) or will (infinitive).

Morphemes   Parts of a word which singly or together convey meaning.

Neologism   A new word, or an old word used in a new sense.

Normalise   To bring within normal or intermediate standards.

Notional   Existing only as a concept.

Notional Pronunciation   A pronunciation conceived as a compromise to reconcile a range of diverse accents in order to act as a model for spellings which would find the widest degree of acceptance.

Number   Singular or plural.

Old-English (englisc)   A West Germanic language almost identical to Old-Friese. Probably the lingua franca of the Roman Army in Britain. Named after the Engle.

Orthoepy   The part of grammar that treats of the way a given language is spoken.

Orthography   The part of grammar that treats of the way a given language is written.

Pali   A Prakrit vernacular which became the sacred language of Buddhism.

Phoneme   A notional phonological unit of language, which conveys meaning, and which cannot be analysed into smaller meaningful units.

Phonemic   Symbols etc. representing particular phonemes.

Phonetic   Representing vocal sounds.

Phonic   Concerning speech sounds, esp. the orthoepic interpretation of words when reading aloud.

Phonology   The study of the sound system of a particular language.

Picts   An earlier name of the inhabitants of Scotland. They disappeared from history when they united with the Irish-speaking Scots in the 9th Century.

Pidgin   A linguistically simplified, mixed and restricted language used in limited contact situations between peoples who have no common language.

Pitch   The degree of acuteness of sound.

Prakrit   One of the "natural" languages of later schismatic Hindu scripts. Three have been used by the Jains.

Pronunciation   The action of speaking or articulating.

Received Pronunciation (R.P.)   The pronunciation of that variety of British English widely considered to be the least regional, being originally that used by educated speakers in Southern England.

Received Standard   The spoken language of a linguistic area in its traditionally most correct and acceptable form.

Reflexive Pronoun   A pronoun that relates back to the subject in a sentence.

Relexification   Direct substitution of vocabulary: the process of replacing a word or group of words in one language with a corresponding word or group of words from another language but without adjusting the grammar.

Rhotic   A dialect or accent in which [r] is pronounced when it occurs before a consonant or a pause.

Romance   A general name for the vernaculars which developed out of popular Latin - French, Provencal, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansch, with their various dialects.

Sanskrit   The "perfected/purified" language of the ancient Hindu religious scripts.

Saxons   A Northern European people from Northern Germany speaking a West Germanic dialect. The name was generalised to include all Northern Germans. In Britain, used for the Romano-British majority which had adopted Saxon language and ways.

Schwa   A short indeterminate vowel, like that at the end of "sofa". By far the commonest vowel sound in English.

Scot   The usual name for the Irish in the early Middle Ages. Scots from Dalriada in Northern Ireland took the Irish language to Northern Britain in the 6th Century. Scotland takes its name from them.

Scotia   One of the names for Ireland in the early medieval period.

Script   A kind of writing, or a system of alphabetical or other written characters.

Semantic   Relating to meaning, especially of words.

Shibboleth   A word or pronunciation used to distinguish outsiders: originally used in Judges 12: 4-6 (see also Zephaniah 3: 8-9).

Stress   Relative loudness or force of vocal utterance through a syllable in a word or a word in a sentence.

Syllabification   To divide a word or passage into syllables.

Synecdoche   A figure of speech putting part for the whole, or the whole for part.

Syntax   The orderly or systematic arrangement of the parts of speech in a sentence.

Tense   The form of a verb which indicates the time of the action.

T.O.   "Traditional Orthography": the present spelling of the English language, which is not really orthographic at all, by any current standard.

Tone   The quality of sound, usually with reference to pitch: high, low, rising, falling, level etc..

Transliteration   The action of rendering the letters or characters of one alphabet into those of another.

Verbal   Pertaining to or concerned with words, especially in speech.

Vernacular   A native or indigenous language. The idiom of the region.

Voice   One of two verb forms: active (the object acts) or passive (the object is acted upon).

Voiced   A sound whose production involves vibration of the vocal chords, as in [b, d, g, v, z].

Voiceless   A sound whose production does not involve vibration of the vocal chords, as in [p, t, k, f, s].

Volapük   An artificial language, chiefly composed of materials from European tongues, invented in 1879 by a German priest, Johann M Schleyer, as a means of international communication.

Welsh   A name derived from the continental Volcae, which came to be applied indiscriminately to all Western European inhabitants of the Roman Empire. In Britain the word Welsh was probably first applied to speakers of Latin; on the Continent, variants such as Walloon, Wallon, Waalsch, Welsch, Velsk, and Vlach are still applied to the French, the Italians and the Romanians.

Zipf's Law   The length of a word tends to decrease as its relative frequency of use increases: i.e. one can generally determine the relative age of a word or phrase by how short it has become.

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