Glossary

Did we mention a term you are not familiar with?
Find out the meaning of linguistic jargon from the episodes and the definitions here!

1+2 Policy
This policy is “aimed at ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn a modern language (known as L2) from P1 until the end of the broad general education (S3). Additionally, each child is entitled to learn a second modern language (known as L3) from P5 onwards.” Learn more here.

Accent
A distinct way of pronouncing words/ language, usually shared by people from the same area, country or social group.

Accentism
Discriminatory behaviour based on someone’s accent or language use.

Acculturation
Assimilation to a culture, often the dominant one. The process by which a person adopts, acquires, and adjusts to a new cultural environment.

Alzheimer’s Disease
It is a brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour, and is the most common cause of dementia (see below). It is not a normal part of aging. Learn more about the disease here.

Attrition
The change (often described as decline) in one’s language proficiency over time, especially when not using or being exposed to the language. Find our more here.

B-Gesture
Also B handshape in sign language, refers to a handshape where all fingers are straight and the thumb is folded in. Find an example here.

Big D, Small d
Big D refers to people born deaf or hard of hearing before spoken language is acquired, which means it is part of their identity and culture.
Small d refers to people who have become deafened or hard of hearing later in life after having acquired a spoken language. Learn more about the (importance of the) difference here.    

Bilingualism
Our definition: when a person speaks two or more languages, regardless of language combination, age of acquisition or proficiency level.

CEFR Levels
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. There are 3 levels (A, B, C), each with 2 levels (e.g., A1, A2), where A denotes a “basic user”, B an “independent user”, and C a “proficient user”. Found out more here.

Cochlear Implant
A surgically implanted device that turns sounds into electrical signals and is not to be confused with a hearing aid. Find out more here.

Cockney
Dialect of English in the East End of London. Listen to an example here (Min 4:30).

Code Switching
Also known as language mixing or language alternation. Occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages in the context of a single conversation

Cognate
Words with a common origin or source. These words will often look similar and share a similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation.

Cognitive impairment
When a person has trouble remembering or learning, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Symptoms ranges from mild to severe, and Alzheimer’s or dementia falls under the definition. Learn more here.

Comorbidity
The simultaneous presence of two disorders or diseases in one person.

Competence-Performance Distinction
A distinction famously made by Noam Chomsky in language learning and use where competence involves “knowing” the language and performance involves “doing” something with the language. However, this approach has been criticized as it is very difficult to measure competence without performance.

Concord
This happens when a word changes form depending on the other words to which it relates . It is often referred to as syntactic agreement – see below.

Contact Linguistics
The study of language contact and its outcomes, often from historical or social perspectives.

Corpus Linguistics
The study of a collection of linguistic data, either written texts or transcriptions.

Covert Prestige
In sociolinguistics, this refers to “refer to local or in-group prestige, rather than prestige which is widespread, or the “norm” across a population at large” (Peterson, 2019:71)

Cross-linguistic Interference
Refers to the different the different ways in which one language can affect another language within an individual speaker.

Cyrillic
The alphabet used by many Slavic languages, including Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and others.

Diglossia
A term used to describe the coexistence of two languages, or two varieties of the same language throughout a community of speakers.

Deformation Profesionelle
This refers to a tendency to process the world through one’s professional eyes rather than from a more balanced perspective, a mostly subconscious bias.

Dementia
This is a general term for loss of memory, language, and cognitive abilities that hinder and obstruct daily life. Learn more about dementia here.

Demography
This refers to the statistical study of populations – their size, composition and distribution, and the process of change within a population. 

Dialect
This refers to a variety of a language that particular to group of speakers. The dialects of a language are closely related and are often mutually intelligible.

Dialectology
The study of dialects

Dominant language
The language of a bi- or multilingual speaker with the most proficiency, and/or the one the speakers uses most often.

Durational Segment
The particular length of a speech segment

Electrophysiology (EP)
A branch of physiology that studies the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues

(Classroom) Flipping
A flipped classroom refers to an approach in which the students prepare the lesson content at home to discuss. debate and work on the material in class together, resulting in a dynamic group space in the classroom. The teacher guides the students rather than frontal, teacher-central instruction. Read more here.

Fricative
In phonetics, this is a consonant sound, such as English ‘F’ or ‘TH’, produced by bringing the mouth into position to interrupt the passage of the airstream with your tongue or your teeth, resulting in turbulent air flow and friction.

Glaswegian
Adjective, relating to Glasgow. This includes natives or the accent.

Head-final languages
The head is the ‘main’ word of the phrase. Some languages have a head-final sentence structure in that the ‘main’ word appears at the end of the phrase.

Heritage speakers
A person who learned their family’s language informally by being exposed to it, usually at home

Idiolect
How an individual person speaks or uses language.

L1, L2, Ln
First Language, Second Language, Additional Language

(Language) Medium School
A school where a specific language is used as medium of instruction

Lexicon
A term used in linguistics to refer to the complete set of meaningful units of a language or essentially a catalogue of a language’s words. Generally compared to the grammar of a language.

Marked Language
In linguistics, markedness refers to the way words can be changed to give a special meaning.

Mass Count
The distinction between countable and uncountable, reflected in the nouns, verbs, adjectives and quantifiers in syntax and semantics of a language.

Metalinguistics
A branch of linguistics that looks at language in relation to society and culture.
Find out about metalinguistic awareness here.

Minority Language
A language spoken by the minority of the population (In contrast to the population’s majority language).                               

Modality
The method in which something is done; mode in which something exists, is experienced or expressed.          

Morphology
The study of the smallest fragments of words (morphemes), or the internal structure of words.       

Morpho-Syntax
The study of how morphemes function and influence the grammar at function-level      

Multilingualism
When a person speaks more than two (several) languages.                  

Mutual Intelligibility
When speakers of different (often closely related) languages, language varieties or dialects can understand each other.

Neologism
New word, term, or phrase entering a language that isn’t yet used in the mainstream.

Nominal Domain
Of or relating to nouns. In linguistics, the term nominal refers to a category used to group together nouns and adjectives based on shared properties

Neurolinguistics
A branch of linguistics that studies how language is represented in the brain and what happens in our brains as we acquire that knowledge of a language, and what happens as we use it in our everyday lives.

OPOL – One Parent One Language
A method used by parents who are raising simultaneous bilingual children, where one parent consistently uses one language, and the other parent uses the other language with the child(ren).

Optimality Theory
This theory holds that all languages have a set of constraints that produce the phonological and grammatical patterns of the language.

Orthography
The spelling system of a language; the set of conventions for writing a language.

Phenotype
An individual’s observable traits, such as height or skin colour.

Phonetics
A branch of linguistics that studies how humans make and perceive sound. Focuses on the physical production and classification of the world’s speech sounds.

Phonological Awareness
This means you are able to discriminate, memorize, attend to and manipulate sounds at the sentence, word, syllable, and single sound level. Learn more here.

Phonological Loop
A component of working memory model that deals with spoken and written material. AKA articulatory loop, as described in Baddeley’s Model of Working Memory. Find out more here.      

Phonology
A branch of linguistics that studies how languages organize their sounds; the study of the patterns of sounds, sound systems, and abstract sound units in and across languages.

Picture-naming Task
A task widely used in cognitive psychology and related fields measuring lexical retrieval during speech production where participants are asked to name what is represented in different pictures.

Pinyin (Hanyu Pinyin)
The official romanization of the Standard Mandarin Chinese Writing Systems, often used to teach Mandarin.

Pluricentric language
A language with several standardised forms, usually linked to different countries

Polyglot
A person that speaks/ has mastered several languages.

Prescriptivism
This refers to the ideology where the correct (and incorrect) uses of a language are established by sets of (i.e. grammatical) rules that are imposed on language users, creating a standard language.

Priming
A term originating from behavioral psychology used to describe a technique in which the introduction of one stimulus influences how people respond to a following stimulus without conscious guidance or intention.

Protected Characteristics
These are a set of characteristics defined in the Equality Act, which protects people against discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

Prosody
The patterns of stress and intonation in a language. Also used for pattern of rhythm in poetry.

Psychometrics
A field of study focused on the theory and technique of measuring psychological functions and factors; psychological measurement.

Psycholinguistics
A combination of psychology and linguistics, where research focuses on the mental aspects of language, how language is represented and processed in the brain. Learn more here.

Qualitative Data
In research, qualitative data describes qualities and characteristics. The data that can be observed (not measured), collected and recorded. Examples would be background questionnaires or interviews.

RP – Received Pronunciation
This is an accent often described as ‘typically British’. This accent is also often referred to as ‘the Queen’s English’ or ‘Oxford English’. Learn more about RP here.

Self-Talk
Your internal monologue; talking to yourself.

Sequential Bilingualism
When a person becomes bilingual by first learning one language and then another, that is not at the same time. Often used in contrast to simultaneous bilingualism

Simultaneous Bilingualism
When two or more languages are learned at the same time. This term is usually applied to the context of children becoming bilingual or learning multiple languages from birth. Often used in contrast to sequential bilingualism

Slavicist
A specialist of Slavic languages

Social Cognition
This is a concept in psychology that focuses on how people process, store, and apply information about other people and social situations. Read more here.

Social Enterprise
This refers to businesses that have social objectives, to maximize profits in order to benefit people, society or the environment. 

Sociolinguistics
A branch of linguistics that focuses on the relationship and interaction between language and social factors and language as it functions in society

Superdialect
A language variation which uses all the word of two or more dialects

Syntactic Agreement
This refers to the way words change form depending on the others words in the sentence. An example would be the third person singular ‘s’ in English in ‘He likes ice cream‘.

Syntax
A branch of linguistics that that studies the set of rules, principles, and processes that determine the structure of sentences and arrangement of words and phrases into sentences in a language.

Typology
The study of of something according to their common characteristics; a classification. In linguistics, typology is the systematic study of levels of variation and similarities in the world’s languages

Unbalanced bilingualism
When a speaker of several languages is not equally proficient in all their languages but has one dominant language.

Verbal Fluency Task
A short test often used in psychology and related fields. Typically, participants are given 1 minute to name as many unique words as possible within a semantic category (category fluency) or starting with a given letter (letter fluency).

                                                                   

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