Category Archives: Anatomy of Linguistics

Oxymoron – enantiosemy

Image credit: Vkil, “Flammablecabinet” October 17, 2013, CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Dear All, Today I would like to discuss briefly two linguistic phenomena which can be easily confused: oxymoron and enantiosemy. Oxymoron (from Gr. “pointedly foolish”: ὀξύς [oxus] “sharp, keen” and μωρός [mōros] “dull, stupid”) (plural oxymora or oxymorons) is a “paradoxical connection …

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Theme and rheme

Dear All, Have you ever heard the terms “theme” and “rheme” (= focus – background/presupposition)? First, this post defines the two terms and then provides an example of how they have been applied in research. The discussion concludes by pointing at the importance of these notions in linguistics. Theme (in some sources, also “topic,” “background,” …

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Reliable and valid

Dear All, Reliability and validity are the basic properties which any research should have or at least should be aiming at achieving as closely as possible (approximate results are not always a bad thing). Reliability and validity of research results come from reliable and valid procedures (Johnstone, 2000) which I would like to clearly define …

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Coherence and cohesion

Dear All, In systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and in discourse analysis, there exist two notions, which are sometimes confused: coherence and cohesion. In this post I would like to clarify any potential confusion by defining the terms and by providing examples. Coherence (from Lat. “cohaerere” – to stick together) can be understood in a wide …

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Phoneme – sound – allophone – phone

Dear All, There are several terms in phonetics which are often confused. These terms are phoneme, sound, allophone, and phone. The purpose of this post is to clearly define each of these terms and exemplify them. Phoneme (Gr. phone “sound, voice”) is the smallest contrastive unit of language that may change the meaning of a …

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Introduction to linguistics and general linguistics (in Ukrainian)

              Dear All, Today I would like to share with you information on two of the best books in modern linguistics. They are both written by the same author, M.P. Kocherhan. The books are in Ukrainian; my apologies to those who do not read Ukrainian. The first book is entitled “Introduction to linguistics“. It consists …

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Metaphor

In spite of the fact that we often hear the term “metaphor”, it is not always used in accordance with the original (classic) linguistic definition. Moreover, even some students-linguists tend to confuse it sometimes with such linguistic phenomena as metonymy* or simile. Therefore, I hope that this post may help to clarify the situation. “From …

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X-bar theory = X-bar syntax

X-bar theory (= X-bar syntax) is a linguistic postulate according to which all phrases and sentences in languages are structured according to a certain (syntactic) model; this model can be made explicit through a linguistic analysis and consequently can be depicted graphically with the help of strictly hierarchical diagrams. The X-bar theory was developed within …

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Generative grammar

Video credit: The Virtual Linguistics Campus, “Syntax – Generative Grammar” March 19, 2012, via YouTube. Generative grammar is an approach to study of syntax which attempts to elaborate some general (hence generative) or overarching rules which may accurately predict possible combinations of words [i.e. syntactic structures] used by native speakers of this language to form …

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Grammar/semantics – form/meaning

In one of his books, the famous linguist Noam Chomsky (2002, p. 15) coined the following sentence: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. Is the meaning of each individual word understandable? Why? Is the grammatical structure of the sentence correct? Why? What does this sentence tell us about the role of grammar? What about the role …

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Glossary in Linguistics

One of the available glossaries in linguistics that provide concise fefinitions and is a free online resource is the glossary found on the Queen Mary University of London website: http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/cjpountain/linggloss.htm Iaroslav

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