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Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of language and its use.

TermDefinition
Accent

The purpose of a grammatical accent is to indicate that a given letter (usually a vowel) is to be pronounced a certain way, or even pronounced at all. For example, some people may spell "cooperate" as "coöperate", in order to indicate that both o's should be pronounced. It is worth noting that this use of the term accent is quite different from the more culturally and sociologically rooted one of saying that a given person "has" an accent. 

Allophone

The allophone may be a strange concept to the average English speaker, due to the fact that the average person is not aware of the full set of one allophone or another that he is using at one time or another. For example, there may be several different variations of the consonant sound "t", although they may all sound the same to the layman. Each of these variations would be an allophone relative to every other one, as long as the meaning of the word won't change. 

Alveolar

The alveolar consonant is one of several consonant types used by linguists in their classification schema. This schema is based on the way that the tongue moves within the mouth when it is pronouncing a given sound. The alveolar consonant is characterized by the fact that the tongue touches the alveolar ridge when pronouncing one. This happens automatically: the layperson, of course, does not think about such things in a conscious way.

Coronal

Coronals are consonants (a type of flap) articulated with the flexible front part of the tongue. Only the coronal consonants can be divided into apical (using the tip of the tongue), laminal (using the blade of the tongue), domed (with the tongue bunched up), or subapical (using the underside of the tongue), as well as a few rarer orientations, because only the front of the tongue has such dexterity.

Dental

A dental consonant is a consonant articulated with the tongue against the upper teeth, such as /t/, /d/, /n/, and /l/ in some languages. Dentals are primarily distinguished from sounds in which contact is made with the tongue and the gum ridge.

Diacritic

A diactric mark, such as the cedilla of façade or the acute accent of résumé, added to a letter to indicate aspecial phonetic value or distinguish words that are otherwise graphically identical.

Dialect

The term dialect refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class.

Diction

Diction is a concept that can be used in order to describe and/or categorize the way that a given person writes or speaks. For example, it could be said that Hemingway has a sparse diction, or that Fitzgerald has a lyrical diction. It can also be said that one person as a smooth or flowing diction in his speech, whereas another person has a careful or abrupt diction.

Digraph

A digraph or digram is a pair of characters (such as "sh") used in the orthography of a language to write either a single phoneme (distinct sound), or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined. 

Dorsal

Dorsal consonants are articulated with the mid-body of the tongue (the dorsum). They include the palatal, velar, and in some cases alveolo-palatal and uvular consonants. Dorsals contrast with coronal consonants, articulated with the flexible front of the tongue, and laryngeal consonants, articulated in the pharyngeal cavity.

Double Entendre

A double entendre is a figure of speech or a particular way of wording that is devised to be understood in either of two ways, having a double meaning. Typically one of the meanings is obvious, given the context whereas the other may require more thought.

Elision

In linguistics, elision or deletion is the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase. Sometimes sounds are elided to make a word easier to pronounce. 

Emphatic

In Semitic linguistics, an emphatic consonant is an obstruent consonant which originally contrasted with series of both voiced and voiceless obstruents. 

Entailment

In pragmatics (linguistics), entailment is the relationship between two sentences where the truth of one (A) requires the truth of the other (B). For example, the sentence (A) The president was assassinated. entails (B) The president is dead.

Flap

In phonetics, a flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, which is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator (such as the tongue) is thrown against another.

Fricative

Fricatives are consonants that are formed by impeding the flow of air somewhere in the vocal apparatus so that a friction-sound is produced. Because of the way the flow of breath is heard in producing fricatives, fricatives are also called spirants.

Homograph

Homographs are words which are spelled the same, but with more than one meaning. Homographs may be pronounced the same (homonyms), or they may be pronounced differently.

Linguistics

Linguistics studies the scientific structure of the human language, as well as the diversity of language. The scope of study includes how adults and children construct, learn and use language.

Trill

In phonetics, a trill is a consonantal sound produced by vibrations between the active articulator and passive articulator. 

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