Tag Archives: definition

Shortening – contraction – clipping – blending – abbreviation

Dear All, One can hear people using a variety of terms to refer to “shortened words” such as ‘shortenings’, ‘abbreviations’, etc. This post looks at these terms from the linguistic perspective to explain and help use them correctly. This post focuses on the lexical layer of the language. Let’s start with the most generic term: …

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What is language

Dear All, There exist dozens of definitions of “language” (L.). This post focuses on what a good definition of L. should cover and formulates a new definition of the notion. To begin with, what is the most important objective of L. from the linguistic perspective? Most objective of L. from the linguistic perspective is communication. …

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Gazing

Video credit: Vanessa Van Edwards, “The Three Types of Eye Gazing” August 4, 2014, via YouTube. Dear All, Have you ever heard the proverb, “Eyes are the mirror of soul”? This proverb means that eyes can communicate a lot of information, probably, even something beyond words. Indeed, eyes can communicate in different ways. This post …

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Comparative linguistics

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech (Gen. 11:1, KJV). Dear All, Have you ever heard the story about the tower of Babel? It is described in Genesis 11:1-9. The quote above is the beginning of this story. What is important for us in this discussion is that there is …

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Descriptive linguistics

Dear All: I have recently come across two sources which seem to understand descriptive linguistics (L.) in opposite ways. The Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures’ Web page on the University of Kentucky website explains how the field of descriptive L. is represented there in the following way: “Descriptive Linguistics research is …

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Theoretical linguistics

Dear All, The previous post has focused on applied linguistics (L.). This post focuses on theoretical L. Theoretical L. is a branch of L. that is focused on developing linguistic knowledge in general (e.g. what are the linguistic levels of any language) and concrete models in particular (e.g. how the phonemes are organized in a …

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Applied linguistics

Language acquisition is “the greatest intellectual feat any of us is ever required to perform” (Bloomfield, 1933, p. 29). Dear All, The previous two posts have defined linguistics (L.) and discussed briefly its structure. This post focuses on one of the branches of L. called “applied L.” Applied L.is a conglomeration of linguistic sub-disciplines and …

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Structure of linguisitcs

Image credit: Aucasin, “Branches indo-européen” September 13, 2015, via Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-SA 4.0). Dear All: This post continues exploring what linguistics (L.) is. This post is going to focus on the branches of of L. which do study language, but are not directly focused on a particular structural level of language. Depending on what …

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What is linguistics?

Video credit: The Virtual Linguistics Campus, “What is Linguistics (not)?” July 31, 2014, via YouTube. Dear All: We have been discussing so many interesting linguistic topics on BLOGONLINGUISTICS blog, but what is linguistics? Linguistics (L.) (from Lat. lingua – “language”) is scientific study of language. The core branches of L. are associated with language structure …

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Argot, jargon, professionalism, and slang

Dear All, Argo, jargon, professionalism, and slang are the terms which are used not only by linguists, but by people with any other background in their everyday life. The everyday use of these terms contributes to the fact that sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. Even linguists who do not work closely with these notions …

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Independent and dependent variables

Dear All, When we conduct a linguistic research, we usually work with a number of variables some of which are independent and some are dependent. This post defines these two types of variables. An independent variable is what is given (e.g. age, sex, social class, geographical location, occupation), the “input”. An dependent variable is what …

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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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Speech acts: Pragmatics

Video credit: The Virtual Linguistics Campus, “Semantics and Pragmatics – Speech Acts, An Overview” September 16, 2012, via YouTube. Dear All, This video continues exploring speech acts. In particular, it shows how the semantic perspective (on utterances) can be complemented with the pragmatic perspective. It also introduces Searle’s classification of speech acts. Iaroslav

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Speech act theory

Dear All, Today I would like to discuss speech act theory. In this post, I would like to sketch a general picture concerning the theory and define some key notions. I am not going to get into details or list various ramified systems of speech acts created, for example, by Searle (1975) or Meggle and …

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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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Chronemics: monochronic and polychronic cultures

Dear All, Today I would like to discuss two concepts: “monochronic culture” vs “polychronic culture”; both concepts are pertinent to chronemics (see “Types of nonverbal communication” post for the definition). Studying various aspects of interpersonal communication, famous anthropologist Edward T. Hall (1959; 1976) noticed that English has such expressions as “time is money” and “to waste …

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High- and low-context cultures

Dear All, In this post, I would like to discuss such concepts as “high-context culture” vs “low-context culture”. These concepts were first introduced by anthropologist Edward Twitchell Hall. According to Hall, “[h]igh context transactions feature pre-programmed information that is in the receiver and in the setting, with only minimal information in the transmitted message. Low …

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Hofstede’s cultural dimensions

Dear All, Culture can be defined in many different ways. On their official website, Hofstede and Hofstede (2013) define culture as “the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another”. In order to explore cultures better, they have come up with six “dimensions” of culture (Hofstede …

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Types of nonverbal communication

Image credit: European Parliament, “EP Journalism Prize 2011 winners are from France, Italy, Finland and Germany” October 19, 2011, via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Nonverbal means of communication (NMC) have recently come to attention of linguists, anthropologists, psychologists, communication and discourse studies scholars. It is now a widely admitted fact that they play an important …

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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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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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Strong and weak versions of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

The theory of linguistic relativity is known in two versions: the strong hypothesis (= linguistic determinism) and the weak hypothesis (= linguistic relativity). It is necessary to clarify that the words “strong” and “weak” are not related to the strength of the scholarly argumentation, but rather to the degree to which language is assumed to …

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SFL functional perspective

Central to Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is a perspective on discourse as a functional act: discourse is a medium to concrete things in the real world. In order to accomplish something effectively, it is necessary to choose a certain register. Register can be defined as “manner of speaking or writing specific to a certain function, …

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