2 utterances linked in an obvious or clear way, always said by different speakers eg: question/answer, greeting/returned greeting and apology/acceptance.
Feedback offered by one or more listener to main speaker, taking form of minimal responses and non-verbal communication such as nods and laughter.
A question with few possible answers, or with narrow field for response (eg “Did you like the film?” rather than the more open “Can you tell me about the film?”).
Words/phrases common in spoken but not written Standard English eg ain’t.
2 words reduced into 1 using an apostrophe eg can’t, wouldn’t.
Word/phrase indicating change of (or return to) topic eg anyway, well, as I was saying.
Missing out a sound within a word eg intrest, goin’, startin’, wanna. May or may not be marked with an apostrophe.
Missing out a word, often a noun or pronoun eg “Better get on with it” (Could be I’d, s/he’d, we’d or you’d)/
Changing tack a short way into a sentence.
Words with no/little meaning. Speakers often have preferred fillers; they form part of our idiolect. eg like, I mean, innit.
“Padding” added to bald statements, often intentionally to soften a request or statement eg kind of, probably, could be.
An individual way of talking, often characterised by dialect terms, favoured fillers, discourse markers and any use of language that distinguishes them from the majority.
Usually represented as (.) A very brief pause, acting as punctuation or possibly hesitation/thinking time in spontaneous speech.
Brief responses such as “yeah”, “mmm”. Can be part of backchannel support or can show lack of interest in topic.
Preferred term (not incorrect, bad or poor grammar). Common in speech even of the educated.
Filler which is not technically a word eg umm, erm.
Question with many possible responses; allows speaker choice of topic/direction.
Participants speaking at the same time, on same topic. More positive than interruption; usually shows enthusiasm or high degree of interaction
Correcting oneself – sometimes an utterance could be described as self-repair or false start.
Informal spoken language which is usually group-specific. Examples include ‘baccy’ meaning tobacco and ‘ace’ meaning something is awesome.
Low-register language which is inappropriate in many social settings which include swear words or expletives.
Term of Address
The way people refer to each other. Formal terms of address are usually titles eg Dr/Rev/Mrs so-and so. Informally, we tend to use first names, or terms of endearment such as “love” or “hon”.
Always timed in seconds, usually represented as (1); (0.5) etc. Often doesn’t mean anything except that speech is spontaneous; may punctuate longer utterances; can show uncertainty or an unwillingness/hesitation to voice the utterance that follows.
Imperative (Sentence Function)
A sentence that functions as a command eg “Buy me a drink”.
Exclamative (Sentence Function)
A sentence that functions as an exclamation eg “What an idea!”.
Interrogative (Sentence Function)
A sentence that functions as a question eg “What day is it?”.
Declarative (Sentence Function)
A sentence that functions by providing information eg “Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United Kingdom”.
Things that can be detected with the 5 senses such as animals, furniture, water and clothes. The names of physical, tangible objects.
Names of places, specific people, animals and days of the week such as London, Jordan, Jamaica and Friday. All begin with a capital letter.
The name of an object, creature, idea or person such as cats, soldiers and chairs.
They can be used in place of a noun such as he, she and they.
The name of a concept, emotion, abstract idea or belief and they cannot be detected by the 5 senses. Eg communism, love, fear and peace.
They are nouns that refer to someone or something that executes the actions of the verb such as singer, worker and dancer.
Abstract (Labov’s Narrative Structure)
Summary of story – “I’m going to tell you about”.
Orientation (Labov’s Narrative Structure)
Context in which the story takes place – “I was on holiday with my sister”.
Evaluation (Labov’s Narrative Structure)
Point of interest – “A man threw himself out of the window”.
Narrative (Labov’s Narrative Structure)
Result (Labov’s Narrative Structure)
The result of the story – “He’s broken both his legs and was in hospital for 5 weeks”.
Coda (Labov’s Narrative Structure)
Signals the end – “Fell in love with the nurse and they lived happily ever after”.
Interactional (Speech Function)
Social talk eg 2 friends discussing a social gathering or 2 friends gossiping.
Phatic (Speech Function)
Informal talk eg Neighbours discussing the weather
Transactional (Speech Function)
The purpose of this speech is to accomplish a task eg An interviewer asking questions to gain information for inspiration on writing a novel.
Expressive (Speech Function)
An emotional speech such as an eulogy or a speech given at weddings. This speech can be a personal opinion.
Adjectives that premodify a noun/come before the noun such as The blue ball
Adjectives that postmodify a noun/come after the noun such as The sky is blue.
Adjectives that occur immediately after a noun such as the Governor General, the Princess Royal, the shortest route possible, the worst conditions imaginable and the best hotel available.
An adjective that shows a contrast or compares something to something else and end in -er or start with -more. Eg worse, bigger, larger and more colourful.
Adjectives that are of the highest degree of comparison and usually end in -est or start with -most. Eg worst, most beautiful and greatest.
Minor Sentence (Sentence Type)
Minor sentences aren’t really sentences at all. They are elliptical, compressed, common as headlines, common in spontaneous speech and all similarly informal forms, like emails, blogs, texts and are common in typically non-standard ‘rule breaking’ texts like adverts (any form).
In ‘spontaneous’ texts they are a common marker of informality, in written texts they may be trying to imitate or reflect that informality, or it may be an elliptical form for speed and ease of understanding. Context dependent so they make for contempt, need for speed, an eye-catching headline etc.
Eg No parking, Yes, whatever, Happy now?, Total agreement, Absolutely and Sam didn’t.
Simple Sentence (Sentence Type)
Simple sentences consist of one main clause, subject,verb,(object/adverbial) and make sense by itself. Eg I listen, She peeled a grape, I heard a rumour, Don’t believe the newspapers, The cake was eaten and They live over there.
Simple sentences simplify by offering easy to grasp statements and give clear instructions. Can be dramatic to give a punchy effect, clarifies or summaries earlier, more complex points and can express irony or disgust. etc.
Compound Sentence (Sentence Type)
Compound sentences are 2 simple sentences jammed together with a coordinating conjunction such as and, but, or. Each sentence has equal value. They contrast (but), give exceptions (or) and simple chaining (and), they give a sense of balance.
Eg I walked home but Nick got a taxi, His feet smell and his farts are deadly, Should she listen to him or walk away?, I listened to everything you had to say and I still don’t believe you.
Complex Sentence (Sentence Type)
Complex sentences have a relationship of dependency and do not make sense on their own, provide reasons why, indicate time and show conditions etc.
Eg. Although James was a bit of a bore, he helped me with my essays.
I ate the oysters, even though Millie wouldn’t.
As Shelley wasn’t listening, Betty went home.
Since it is late, I had better go home.
Compound-Complex Sentence (Sentence Type)
Compound-complex sentences have mega multi-clause constructions that both coordinate (use ‘and’ ‘but’ ‘or’) and subordinate (use subordinating conjunctions).
Eg Kate wasn’t convinced and neither was Natasha so Mike gave up trying to persuade them. Until that moment, Angus thought she was a bit of a bitch and Sam thought he was a total tosser.
Convergence (Speech Style)
When a person’s speech style becomes more like those of the people being spoken to.
Divergence (Speech Style)
When a person’s speech style becomes less like those of the people being spoken to.
When a text has a topic or subject that a group of words relate to, for example if a passage of writing included the words “heart”, “flower”,”music”, “passion” the semantic field would most likely be considered ‘love’.
Comparing one thing to another using ‘like’ or ‘as’. Eg The cat is as fat as a pig and The house is like a warzone.
Describe a state of being such as thinking and feeling emotions.
Physical actions or processes such as running, skiing, walking and designing.
High Frequency Lexis
Language and words that are used very often such as telly, babe, quid etc.
Low Frequency Lexis
Language and words that are not commonly used such as photosynthesis, ubiquitous and preposterous etc.
A distinctive way of pronouncing language and is influenced by the country you are from eg American accent.
How a social group or a social class pronounces phrases and words. It is also the specific language they use for example, teenagers say words like “whatevs”, “attrosh” and “bestie”.
A specific form of language that is central to a specific region of a country. For example, people from Yorkshire say the word, “nowt” which means nothing.
A play on words that exploits the many different meanings of words such as “A plaice in the sun” and “Eiffel in love with Paris”.
Giving inanimate objects human characteristics or qualities such as the train bellowed and the trees waved.
Using weather to depict emotions such as a stormy sky representing a depressed mood.
Adverbs are used to modify a verb. There are 7 types which include time – when something is done such as “Yesterday”, manner – how something is done such as “Slowly”, place – where or in which direction something is done such as “Outside”, comment – adding opinion to a phrase or clause such as “Personally”, linking – used as connectives such as “Additionally”, frequency – how often something is done such as “Everyday” and degree – with what intensity/how much something is done such as “Extremely”.
A phrase that acts as an adverb and contains an adverbial clause which include time, manner, place, degree, condition, concession, reason and cause.
Eg Time: A crow attacked your cat while I was waiting for the bus. Every time he cracked a joke, the punters roared with laughter.
Eg Place: It is colder and wetter in the north of Germany. Put the sign where the students can read it.
Eg Manner: That dog is walking around like he owns the place. She is acting as if she has stolen something.
Eg Condition: If I have the time, I will show you the cellar after the shift. I will come with you provided my suit is back from the dry cleaners.
Eg Concession: Although only four years old, Oliver can do long multiplication. I will cover for you although I may lose my job.
Eg Reason: We were forced to abandon the match because the skies opened up. Since it is your birthday, you can sit in the front.
Eg Cause: We were forced to abandon the match because the skies opened up.
Eg Degree: You are taller than I.
Modal Verb/Modal Auxiliary Verb
Modal verbs can be used to show permission, ability, obligation, prohibition, lack of necessity, advice, possibility and probability.
Examples include can, may, shall, will, could, might, should, must and ought to.
A word or phrase that is not to be taken literally such as high as a kite and a taste of your own medicine.
A word or phrase that sounds like the thing being described such as squirt, splash and drizzle sound like water the thing they are describing.
The repetition of consonant sounds such as “A peck of pickled peppers”. Sibilance is the repetition of the S sound and uvulal alliteration is the repetition of the L sound. Plosive alliteration is the repetition of the B, P, T, D sounds. Fricative alliteration is the repetition of the F and TH sounds.
The repetition of vowel sounds such as “How now brown cow” and “Elephants enter Ethiopia”.
When words that mean the opposite such as black and white, hot and cold, happy and sad are used in close proximity. These words are described as antonyms.
A figure of speech in which words or phrases that contradict each other are placed together for dramatic effect such as bitter sweet and deafening silence.
A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. Eg passed away instead of died and pregnancy termination instead of abortion.
A derogatory or unpleasant term used instead of a pleasant or neutral one. Eg She’s bloody huge instead of the more polite euphemism she’s slightly overweight.
An adjectival phrase is a phrase that tells us something about the noun it is modifying. The main word in an adjectival phrase will be an adjective.
Examples include, The nearby motel offers cheap but comfortable rooms. These are unbelievably expensive shoes. Sarah was fairly bored with you.
2 words or phrases placed in close proximity of one another resulting in a dramatic or punchy effect due to their differences. Eg Bernard uses black rocks on the white sand in order to build his sign which reads “S.O.S.”.
A list of three words or phrases. Eg love, sex and suicide.
A list that is connected by a coordinating conjunction like and, or. Eg the cat is fat and ugly and a burden to me.
A list that is connected by commas instead of coordinating conjunctions such as I pray, eat, cry nightly.
A statement that is produced as a question but is supposed to be unanswered. Used in speeches and articles to engage the reader or audience and also to provoke a response.
A technique used to address the reader of an article or used by a speaker to address their audience via inclusive language use such as personal pronouns like you, we, our and us.
The repetition of sentence structure which is common in speeches such as Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech.
A pronoun which shows possession such as my, his, her and your.
A pronoun used to demonstrate differences/differentiate between possibilities such as this, that, these, those and which.
A pronoun used to ask questions and to substitute for unknown nouns such as which, what and why.
A pronoun used to refer the action back to the subject, usually with emphasis and they all end in self. Eg myself, yourself and themselves.
The shortening of a word to leave a single part such as uni, TV and phone.
The name for a number of things as one unit such as a bunch of crooks, a class of students and a galaxy of stars.
Primary Auxiliary Verb
A verb which supports/assists another verb and used in forming the tenses, moods, and voices of other verbs. The primary auxiliary verbs in English include: be, do, and have.
-ed, -en, or -ing, indicating the tense of a verb. Can also be used as modifiers.
The determiner, ‘the’.
A past tense verb form used with an auxiliary verb to express something which has happened, or as a modifier when describing a noun such as walked, talked, ran and ate.
A word formed by combining the sounds, syllables and morphemes from existing words to form a new word. Eg “chilled” and “relax” become “chillax”.
Joining two or more words together to create a new one for example, snowman, lifetime, toothpaste and icecream.
A noun denoting something which cannot be counted (e.g. a substance or quality), in English usually a noun which lacks a plural in ordinary usage and is not used with the indefinite article, e.g. China, happiness.
A noun that can form a plural and, in the singular, can be used with the indefinite article (e.g. books, a book).
The process by which a verb or an adjective is utilised as or converted to a noun. Eg the verb “walked” can become the noun, “the walk”.
The placing of modifiers (often adverbs or adjectives) after the noun.
The base form of the verb preceded by the preposition ‘to’ but without linking it to a specific subject. For example, “to dance”, “to run” and “to think”.
The verb in a main clause that is not an auxiliary verb and has major meaning in terms of action such as write, buy and travel.
Past Perfect Tense
A verb form used to describe an action which was completed before a particular time. Eg I had called police before I investigated the noise in the garden. The weather changed, but the team had planned its next move.
Present Continuous Tense/Progressive Aspect
A verb form used to express an action which is in progress. For example, I am studying to become a doctor. I am watching TV.
Positioning an adverb or an adverbial phrase into or between the preposition such as ‘to’ and the verb in an infinite verb form. For example, “She used to secretly admire him” and “You have to really watch him”.
Correlates to when an event took place or when an event will happen. The tenses are: past, present and future.
Past tense: “Last year I visited my aunt in London”, Present: “I’m visiting my friend” and Future: “I will fly to Australia to visit my girlfriend”.
Grammatical constructs where the subject of the sentence acts as the agent of change. The subject is the noun in the sentence that does the action of the verb. For example, “The dog devoured the bone”.
Grammatical constructs where the subject of the sentence receives the action of the verb. For example, “The bone was devoured by the dog”.
A function word that connects clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause.
They are pairs of clauses linked by a co-ordinating conjunction, such as ‘but’ or ‘and’. The conjunction joins part of the sentence which have equal status: neither is more important than the other. For example, “She is fat and ugly”.
Connects main clauses to form a compound sentence. Examples include, for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Remember them as FANBOYS.
There are two indefinite articles in English: ‘a’ and ‘an’. They are used before a singular noun that has a plural form. ‘a’ is used before a consonant sound and ‘an’ is used before a vowel sound.
A clause that can stand alone and make sense without any additional clauses. For example, “The cat sat on the mat”.
A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause which functions as an adjective or an adverb to describe a word or make its meaning more specific. For example, Lee accidentally caught a small whelk. Another example, Lee caught a small mackerel.
A phrase with a noun as its main word. For example, I like singing in the bath. Another example, He enjoys walking to school.
A collection of words which work as a single coherent unit. For example, “A dismal rainy day”.
A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or for effect. Examples include, “I am so hungry I could eat a horse” and” She is so dumb, she thinks Taco Bell is a Mexican phone company”.
A technique used to make something appear less significant than it really is for example, “George W. Bush made a few minor errors of judgment as president”, “Albert Einstein was smart” and “Adolf Hitler was a bad man”.
A word particularly an adverb or an adjective that is used to emphasise another word. For example, incredibly, very, really, exceptionally and remarkably.
The main focus of a sentence which can be a noun.
The view from which events are witnessed.
A clause, typically introduced by a conjunction, that forms part of and is dependent on a main clause to complete the full meaning of a sentence. For example, “She answered the phone when it rang”.
A conjunction which connects a subordinate clause to a main clause. Examples include: as, because, in order that, since, so that, although, even though, just as, though and whereas.
A morpheme added at the end of a word to form a derivative such as -ation, -fy, -ing, -itis.
A morpheme added at the beginning of a word to form a derivative such as ex-, non-, re-.
A sentence which uses a complex style with several complex clauses and the meaning normally comes at the end of the sentence.
A word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause. Prepositions can show movement and position. Examples include: at, in, on, since, for, before, until, from, by, about, through.
When an author of a novel, poem or in a film where references are made to a previously published work. For example: if Homer Simpson were to do the Thriller dance this would be an intertextual reference to Michael Jackson’s 1982 Thriller music video.
A spoken word, spoken sentence, or vocal sound.
Comparing one thing to another object by saying the thing that is being compared is that object. For example “Arnie is a mountain” and “It’s raining cats and dogs”.
A newly coined word or a newly made up word. For example, in Faith Healing Philip Larkin uses the neologism, “Blort”.