Human Language Structures

antonym
two words that express opposing concepts

borrowed words
word taken from other languages and adapted to the language’s own uses

complex sentences
a sentence that includes one independent clause and at least one dependent clause

compound-complex sentences
sentence that contains two or more independent clauses and at least one subordinate clause.

compound sentences
has two independent clauses and is joined by a conjunction

confused words
Words that are commonly misused or confused. Example: affect, effect; who’s, whose

misused words
Words that are commonly confused or misused such as affect/effect.

connotation
refers to the implied or suggested meanings associated with a word beyond its dictionary definition

content vocabulary
The specific vocabulary related to the particular concepts of various academic disciplines

context clues
A vocabulary strategy in which the reader looks at the words around an unfamiliar word to find clues to its meaning.

coordinating conjunction
connects word or word groups that have equal importance in a sentence (and, but , or, for, so, yet, nor)

decode
to break down words or sentences to read

denotation
the dictionary definition of a word

etymology
the study of word origins

generativist
universal grammar is innate, language experience triggers innate knowledge and set language specific parameters, the language learning mechanism is specific to target language

generative grammar
Chomsky’s theory that says it is an attempt to develop a small set of rules that could be used to produce any sentence in a language

great vowel shift
A change in the pronunciation of the long vowels of English, which happened in the centuries around 1500. Most long vowels were raised, but the high vowels became diphthongs.

homonymns
2 or more words that have same pronunciation and spelling but different meaning

homophone
One of two or more words pronounced alike, but different in spelling or meaning (e.g., hair/hare, scale (fish)/scale (musical)).

inflectional endings
suffixes that express plurality or possession when added to a noun (e.g. girls, girl’s), tense when added to a verb (e.g. walked, walking), or comparison when added to an adjective (e.g. happier, happiest).

linguistics
the study of the nature, structure, and variation of language

Middle English
Transitional period between Anglo-Saxon and modern English. 1066-1500. Chaucer is a good example of this period’s work.

Modern English
The English language as spoken between about 1450 and the modern day.

modifiers
A word or word group that makes the meaning of another word or word group more specific.

morphology
the formation and composition of words

Old English
The Anglo-Saxon language spoken from approximately 450 to 1150 A.D. in what is now Great Britain

orthography
the art or study of correct spelling according to established usage

philology
the humanistic study of language and literature

phoneme
(linguistics) one of a small set of speech sounds that are distinguished by the speakers of a particular language

phonology
the study of the sound system of a given language and the analysis and classification of its phonemes

pragmatics
the study of language use

predicate
one of the two main constituents of a sentence

prefix
an affix that added in front of the word

semicolon
This is a punctuation mark that is used between clauses of a compound sentence when a conjunction is not used, before conjunctive adverbs that join independent clauses, and in a series when the series already contains commas.

semantics
the study of language meaning

sentence structure
the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences

simple sentences
one independent clause

subject
(grammar) one of the two main constituents of a sentence

synonym
two words that can be interchanged in a context are said to be synonymous relative to that context

syntax
the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language

sight words
Memorized words that are recognized on sight. This is what irregular words tend to be learned as

suffix
an affix that is added at the end of the word

word analysis
the process readers use to figure out unfamiliar words based on written patterns

word families
groups of words that have the same ending soudn (rime) but a different beginning sound (onset), such as can, man, fan.

word origins
history or etymology of words; the meanings of roots and affixes

word wall
an alphabetized chart posted in the classroom listing words students are learning