Linguistic Terms

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ablative n :  a grammatical case expressing typically the relations of separation and source and also frequently such relations as cause or instrument. See also case.

ablaut n :  a systematic variation of vowels in the same root or affix or in related roots or affixes esp. in the Indo-European languages that is usu. paralleled by differences in use or meaning (as in English sing : sang : sung : song; Greek légô I say : lógos word, Latin tego I cover : toga outer garment). See vowel.

accusative n :  the grammatical case that marks the direct object of a verb or the object of any of several prepositions. See also case.

accent n : 1. an articulative effort giving prominence to one syllable over adjacent syllables;  the prominence thus given a syllable; 2. rhythmically significant stress on the syllables of a verse usu. at regular intervals;  3. archaic: utterance;  4. an accented letter; accent mark. See also pitch, stress.

accent mark n :  a mark (as an acute mark, grave, or circumflex) used in writing or printing to indicate a specific sound value, stress, or pitch, to distinguish words otherwise identically spelled, or to indicate that an ordinarily mute vowel should be pronounced. Also called stress mark.

active adj and n :  asserting that the person or thing represented by the grammatical subject performs the action represented by the verb. See also voice, middle, passive.

acute accent n1. accent having the form of a single slanting stroke whose right end is higher than its left b: marked with an acute accent;  2. the variety indicated by an acute accent. See alo accent mark.

adjective n :  a word belonging to one of the major form classes in any of numerous languages and typically serving as a modifier of a noun to denote a quality of the thing named, to indicate its quantity or extent, or to specify a thing as distinct from something else.
    See also possessive adjective, proper adjective.
    See part of speech.

adjunct n : 1. a word or word group that qualifies or completes the meaning of another word or other words and is not itself a main structural element in its sentence;  2. an adverb or adverbial (as heartily in "Most children eat heartily" or at noon in "We will leave at noon") attached to the verb of a clause esp. to express a relation of time, place, frequency, degree, or manner. See also adverb, conjunct, disjunct.

adverb n :  a word belonging to one of the major form classes in any of numerous languages, typically serving as a modifier of a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a preposition, a phrase, a clause, or a sentence, expressing some relation of manner or quality, place, time, degree, number, cause, opposition, affirmation, or denial, and in English also serving to connect and to express comment on clause content.
    See also adverbial.
    See also adjunct, conjunct, disjunct.
    See part of speech.

adverbial n :  word or word group having the function of an adverb.

affix n :  one or more sounds or letters occurring as a bound form attached to the beginning or end of a word, base, or phrase or inserted within a word or base and serving to produce a derivative word or an inflectional form. See also infix, prefix, suffix.

affricate n :  a stop and its immediately following release into a fricative that are considered to constitute a single phoneme (as the [t] and [] of [t] in choose).

analogy n :  correspondence between the members of pairs or sets of linguistic forms that serves as a basis for the creation of another form.

analysis n :  the use of function words instead of inflectional forms as a characteristic device of a language.

analytic or analytical adj(of language) characterized by analysis rather than inflection. See also synthetic.

antecedent n :  1. a substantive word, phrase, or clause whose denotation is referred to by a pronoun (as John in "Mary saw John and called to him"); broadly: a word or phrase replaced by a substitute;  2. the conditional element in a proposition (as if A in "if A, then B").

antepenult (or antepenultima) n :  the third syllable of a word counting from the end (as -cu- in accumulate).

antepenultimate adj or n :  of or relating to an antepenult.

antonym n :  a word of opposite meaning. See also synonym, word. Compare homonym, paronym.

aorist n :  an inflectional form of a verb typically denoting simple occurrence of an action without reference to its completeness, duration, or repetition; in the Greek grammar it was referred to the past simple tense. See also aspect.

apostrophe n :  a mark (') used to indicate the omission of letters or figures, the possessive case (in English), or the plural of letters or figures.

article n :  any of a small set of words or affixes (as a, an, and the) used with nouns to limit or give definiteness to the application. See determiner.

aspect n :  the nature of the action of a verb as to its beginning, duration, completion, or repetition and
without reference to its position in time; a set of inflected verb forms that indicate aspect.
    See also verb.
    See also perfective, imperfective, aorist.

augmentative n :  a word, affix or name indicating large size and sometimes awkwardness or unattractiveness -- compare diminutive.

auxiliary verb n :  accompanying another verb and typically expressing person, number, mood, or tense. See also verb.

bowdlerization [from Thomas Bowdler, English editor (d. 1825)] n :  1. expurgation of the original text by omitting or modifying parts considered vulgar.  2. text modification by abridging, simplifying, or distorting in style or content.

calque n :  a compound, derivative, or phrase that is introduced into a language through translation of the constituents of a term in another language (as superman from German Ubermensch).

case n :  an inflectional form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective indicating its grammatical relation to other words; such a relation whether indicated by inflection or not.  See also ablative, accusative, dative, ergative, genitive, locative, nominative, possessive case, vocative.

cedilla (Sp. cedilla, dim. form of ceda, zeda the letter z, fr. LL. zeta zed) n :  a diacritical mark placed under a letter [ç] to indicate an alteration or modification of its usual phonetic value.

circumflex accent n :  a mark (^) orig. used in Greek over long vowels to indicate a rising-falling tone and in other languages to mark length, contraction,  a particular vowel quality (as in Portuguese) or disappearence of a letter (as in French). See also accent mark.

clause n : 1. a group of words containing a subject and predicate and functioning as a member of a complex or compound sentence; 2. a separate section of a discourse or writing. See also nonrestrictive clause, restrictive clause, sentence.

clitic n : a word that is treated in pronunciation as forming a part of a neighboring word and that is often unaccented or contracted. See also accent, enclitic, mesoclitic, proclitic.

common noun n :  a noun that may occur with limiting modifiers (as a or an, some, every, and my) and that designates any one of a class of beings or things. See also noun.

comparison n : the modification of an adjective or adverb to denote different levels of quality, quantity, or relation. See degree.

complement n : an added word or expression by which a predication is made complete -- as president in "they elected him president" and beautiful in "he thought her beautiful". See also object complement, subject complement.

conjugation n1. a schematic arrangement of the inflectional forms of a verb;  2. verb inflection;  3. a class of verbs having the same type of inflectional forms;  4. the act of conjugating: the state of being conjugated. See also verb, inflection.

conjunct n :  an adverb or adverbial (as so, in addition, however, secondly) that indicates the speaker's or writer's assessment of the connection between linguistic units (as clauses). See also adverb, adjunct, disjunct.

conjunction n :  an uninflected linguistic form that joins together sentences, clauses, phrases, or words. See part of speech.

consonant n :  one of a class of speech sounds (as [p], [g], [n], [l], [s], [r]) characterized by constriction or closure at one or more points in the breath channel; also: a letter representing a consonant -- usu. used in English of any letter except a, e, i, o, and u.
    See also affricate, continuant, explosive, fricative, liquid, occlusive, sibilant, stop.
    See also dental, labial, labiodental, nasal, palatal, uvular, velar.

consonant shift n :  a set of regular changes in consonant articulation in the history of a language or dialect:  1. such a set affecting the Indo-European stops and distinguishing the Germanic languages from the other Indo-European languages -- compare Grimm's law2. such a set affecting the Germanic stops and distinguishing High German from the other Germanic languages.

continuant n :  a speech sound (as a fricative or vowel) that is produced without a complete closure of the breath passage -- compare stop. See also consonant.

copula n :  the connecting link between subject and predicate of a proposition. See also linking verb, predicate nominative.

count noun n :  a noun (as bean or sheet) that forms a plural and is used with a numeral, with words such as many or few, or (in English) with the indefinite article a or an. Compare mass noun.
    See also noun.

creole n : pidgin language that has become established as the native language of a speech community. Examples of Romance based creoles are Haitian Creole, Louisiana Creole (derived from French), and Papiamento (derived from Spanish and Portuguese) spoken in Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire. Typically, a creole arises when the speakers of one language become economically or politically dominant over speakers of another language or languages, particularly if the latter are illiterate. At first, a simplified or otherwise modified form of the language of the dominant group comes to be used for communication between members of the different groups. At this stage the communicating language is a lingua franca and, if simplified in its forms, a pidgin; when the lingua franca becomes the standard or native language of a community, usually of the less dominant group, the language has become a creole.
    See also lingua franca.

dative n :  the grammatical case that marks typically the indirect object of a verb, the object of some prepositions, or a possessor. See also case.

degree n :  one of the forms or sets of forms used in the comparison of an adjective or adverb. See comparison.

dental n :  a consonant articulated with the tip or blade of the tongue against or near the upper front teeth.

derivation n1. the formation of a word from another word or base (as by the addition of a usu. noninflectional affix); 2. an act of ascertaining or stating the derivation of a word;  3. etymology; 4. the relation of a word to its base.

determiner n :  a word (as an article, possessive, demonstrative, or quantifier) that makes specific the denotation of a noun phrase.

diaeresis n :  1. a mark in the form of two dots placed over a vowel to indicate that the vowel is pronounced in a separate syllable. 2. the break in a verse caused by the coincidence of the end of a foot with the end of a word.

digraph n : 1. a group of two successive letters whose phonetic value is a single sound (as ea in head or ng in ring) or whose value is not the sum of a value borne by each in other occurrences (as ch in chin where the value is [t] + []); 2. a group of two successive letters; see ligature.

diminutive n :  a word, affix, or name indicating small size and sometimes the state or quality of being familiarly known, lovable, pitiable, or contemptible -- used of affixes (as -ette, -kin, -ling) and of words formed with them (as kitchenette, manikin, duckling), of clipped forms (as Jim), and of altered forms (as Peggy) -- compare augmentative.

diphthong n: 1. a gliding monosyllabic speech sound (as the vowel combination at the end of toy) that starts at or near the articulatory position for one vowel and moves to or toward the position of another;  2. digraph; 3. the ligature a and e joined together (æ) or o and e joined together ().
    See also falling diphthong, rising diphthong, semivowel (glide), vowel.

direct object n :  a word or phrase denoting the goal or the result of the action of a verb. See also object.

disjunct n :  an adverb or adverbial (as luckily in "Luckily we had an extra set" or in short in "In short, there is nothing we can do") that is loosely connected to a sentence and conveys the speaker's or writer's comment on its content, truth, or manner. See adjunct, adverb, conjunct.

disyllable n :  a linguistic form consisting of two syllables. See syllable.

dual n : a grammatical number denoting reference to two. See also number.

ellipsis n : the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete.

emphasis n :  force or intensity of expression that gives impressiveness or importance to something.

enclitic n :  a clitic that is associated with a preceding word. See also accent, clitic, mesoclitic, proclitic.

ergative n : an inflectional morpheme (case) that typically marks the subject of a transitive verb in a language (such as Hungarian or Georgian) in which the objects of transitive verbs and subjects of intransitive verbs are typically marked by the same linguistic forms. See also case.

etymology n : 1. the history of a linguistic form (as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another, by analyzing it into its component parts, by identifying its cognates in other languages, or by tracing it and its cognates to a common ancestral form in an ancestral language;  2. a branch of linguistics concerned with etymologies. See derivation, folk etymology.

explosive n : a consonant characterized by explosion in its articulation when it occurs in certain environments. See stop.

falling diphthong n :  a diphthong composed of a vowel followed by a less sonorous glide. See also diphthong, glide, vowel.

feminine n :  the gender that ordinarily includes most words or grammatical forms referring to females. See also gender, masculine, neuter.

figure of speech n : a form of expression (as a simile or metaphor) used to convey meaning or heighten effect often by comparing or identifying one thing with another that has a meaning or connotation familiar to the reader or listener.

finite verb nverb form that can function as a predicate or as the initial element of one and that is limited (as in tense, person, and number).

first person n1. a set of linguistic forms (as verb forms, pronouns, and inflectional affixes) referring to the speaker or writer of the utterance in which they occur; a linguistic form belonging to such a set; reference of a linguistic form to the speaker or writer of the utterance in which it occurs;  2. a style of discourse marked by general use of verbs and pronouns of the first person. See also person, verb.

folk etymology n :  the transformation of words so as to give them an apparent relationship to other better-known or better-understood words (as in the change of Spanish cucaracha to English cockroach). See etymology.

fricative n :  a consonant characterized by frictional passage of the expired breath through a narrowing at some point in the vocal tract. See continuant. See also affricate.

front vowel n :  a vowel articulated at or toward the front of the oral passage. See palatal.

full stop nperiod.

function word n :  a word (as a preposition, auxiliary verb, or conjunction) expressing primarily grammatical relationship.

future perfect tense n :  a verb tense that is traditionally formed in English with will have and shall have and that expresses completion of an action by a specified time that is yet to come. See also tense, tenses in English.

future tense n :  a verb tense expressive of time yet to come. See also tense.

gender n : 1. a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms;  2. membership of a word or a grammatical form in such a subclass;  3. an inflectional form showing membership in such a subclass.
    See also feminine, masculine, neuter.

genitive n :  a grammatical case marking typically a relationship of possessor or source. See also case.

gerund n : 1. a verbal noun in Latin that expresses generalized or uncompleted action; 2. any of several linguistic forms analogous to the Latin gerund in languages other than Latin; esp. the English verbal noun in -ing that has the function of a substantive and at the same time shows the verbal features of tense, voice, and capacity to take adverbial qualifiers and to govern objects. See verb.

gerundive n : 1. the Latin future passive participle that functions as the verbal adjective, that expresses the fitness or necessity of the action to be performed, and that has the same suffix as the gerund;  2. a verbal adjective in a language other than Latin analogous to the gerundive. See verb.

glide n : 1. a less prominent vowel sound produced by the passing of the vocal organs to or from the articulatory position of a speech sound -- compare diphthong; 2. semivowel.

glottal stop n :  the interruption of the breath stream during speech by closure of the glottis.

grave accent n1. accent having the form of a mark moving downward from left to right b: marked with a grave accent; 2. of the variety indicated by a grave accent. See also accent mark.

great vowel shift n :  a change in pronunciation of the long vowels of Middle English that began in the 15th century and continued into the 16th century in which the high vowels were diphthongized and the other vowels were raised.

Grimm's law n :  a statement in historical linguistics -- Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops became Proto-Germanic voiceless fricatives (as in Greek pyr, treis, kardia compared with English fire, three, heart), Proto-Indo-European voiced stops became Proto-Germanic voiceless stops (as in Latin duo, genus compared with English two, kin), and Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated stops became Proto-Germanic voiced fricatives (as in Sanskrit madhya "mid" compared with Old Norse mithr "mid").

hiatus n :  the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound. See also vowel.

homograph n :  one of two or more words spelled alike but different in meaning or derivation or pronunciation (as the bow of a ship, a bow and arrow). See also word.

homonym n :  one of two or more words spelled and pronounced alike but different in meaning (as the adjective sound and the noun sound); homophone, homograph.
    See also word. Compare antonym, paronym, synonim.

homophone n1. one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling (as the words to, too, and two);  2. a character or group of characters pronounced the same as another character or group. See also word.

hypercorrection n :  the production of a nonstandard linguistic form or construction on the basis of a false analogy (as "badly" in "my eyes have gone badly" and "widely" in "open widely").

hyperurbanism n :  use of hypercorrect forms in language; (also) such a form. See the hyperurbanisms in the Medieval Latin.

hyphen n :  a punctuation mark - used esp. to divide or to compound words, word elements, or numbers.

imperative n :  the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another.
    See also mood.

imperfect tense n :  a verb tense used to designate a continuing state or an incomplete action esp. in the past. See also tense, past tense, perfect tense.

imperfective adj :  of a verb form or aspect - expressing action as incomplete or without reference to completion or as reiterated.  See also aspect, perfective, verb.

indicative n : the grammatical mood that represents the denoted act or state as an objective fact -- the indicative mood. See also mood.

indirect object n :  a grammatical object representing the secondary goal of the action of its verb -- as her in "I gave her the book". See also object.

infinitive n :  a verb form that performs some functions of a noun and at the same time displays some characteristics of a verb. See also noun, mood, verb.

infix n :  a derivational or inflectional affix appearing in the body of a word (as Latin -n- in vinco 'I vanquish' as contrasted with vici 'I vanquished'). See also affix.

inflection n :  the change of form that words undergo to mark such distinctions as those of case, gender, number, tense, person, mood, or voice; a form, suffix, or element involved in such variation. See also noun, verb (conjugation).

interjection n : a word or phrase used in exclamation (as "Heavens!", "Dear me!"). See part of speech.

intransitive verb n : verb that may not have a direct object. See verb.

koine n [Gk koinê, fr. fem. of koinós common]  1. cap: the Greek language commonly spoken and written in eastern Mediterranean countries in the Hellenistic and Roman periods;  2. a dialect or language of a region that has become the common or standard language of a larger area.

labial n : a consonant (like [p], [b], [m], [f]) uttered with the participation of one or both lips. See more at consonant.

labiodental n :  a consonant uttered with the participation of the lip and teeth. See more at consonant.

language n : 1. the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community; 2. audible, articulate, meaningful sound as produced by the action of the vocal organs; 3. a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings;  4. the suggestion by objects, actions, or conditions of associated ideas or feelings;  5. a formal system of signs and symbols (as FORTRAN or a calculus in logic) including rules for the formation and transformation of admissible expressions;  6. machine language;  7. form or manner of verbal expression; specif: style;  8. the vocabulary and phraseology belonging to an art or a department of knowledge; 9. the study of language esp. as a school subject.
    See also analytic, synthetic.

liaison n :  the pronunciation of an otherwise absent consonant sound at the end of the first of two consecutive words the second of which begins with a vowel sound and follows without pause.
    For examples see the Liaison in French.

ligature n : a printed or written character consisting of two or more letters or characters joined together. See also digraph, diphthong.

lingua franca n : auxiliary or compromise language used between groups having no other language in common. Examples are English and French for diplomatic purposes. The term lingua franca "Frankish language" was first applied to a jargon or pidgin based on southern French and Italian, developed by crusaders and traders for use in the eastern Mediterranean during the Middle Ages. In the post-Renaissance period of European exploration, many other such contact languages developed--e.g., Indo-Portuguese (Ceylon), Annamite-French (Indochina), Papiamento of Curaçao (based on Spanish and Portuguese), etc. Insofar as a European language was simplified or distorted in pronunciation or grammar, it became a pidgin. When such a pidgin or other lingua franca replaced the original language of a speech community, it became a creole.

linguistic atlas n : a publication containing a set of maps on which speech variations are recorded -- called also dialect atlas.

linguistic form n : a meaningful unit of speech (as a morpheme, word, or sentence) -- called also
speech form.

linguistic geography n : local or regional variations of a language or dialect studied as a field of knowledge -- called also dialect geography.

linking verb n :  a word or expression (as a form of be, become, feel, or seem) that links a subject with its predicate. See verb, copula.

liquid n :  a consonant (like [l], [m], [n], [r]) articulated without friction and capable of being prolonged like a vowel.

loan translation n :  see calque.

locative n :  a grammatical case that denotes place or the place where or wherein. See also case.

loose sentence n : a sentence in which the principal clause comes first and subordinate modifiers or trailing elements follow. See also sentence.

masculine n :  the gender that ordinarily includes most words or grammatical forms referring to males. See also feminine, gender, neuter.

mass noun n :  a noun (as sand or water) that characteristically denotes in many languages a homogeneous substance or a concept without subdivisions and that in English is preceded in indefinite singular constructions by some rather than a or an -- compare count noun. See also noun.

mesoclitic n :  a clitic that may be associated with a following or a preceding word. See also accent, clitic, enclitic, proclitic.

metathesis n :  transposition of two phonemes in a word.

middle n :  typically asserting that a person or thing both performs and is affected by the action represented. See also voice, active, passive.

modal auxiliary n :  an auxiliary verb (as can, must, might, may) that is characteristically used with a verb of predication and expresses a modal modification and that in English differs formally from other verbs in lacking -s and -ing forms.

modification n :  a limitation or qualification of the meaning of a word by another word, by an affix, or by internal change.

modifier n :  a word or phrase that makes specific the meaning of another word or phrase. See also squinting modifier.

monosyllable n :  a word of one syllable. See syllable.

mood n :  distinction of form or a particular set of inflectional forms of a verb to express whether the action or state it denotes is conceived as fact or in some other manner (as command, possibility, or wish).
    See also imperative, infinitive, indicative, optative, potential, subjunctive, verb.

morpheme n : a distinctive collocation of phonemes (as the free form pin or the bound form -s of pins) that contains no smaller meaningful parts. See also linguistic form.

mutation n : see umlaut.

nasal n : a sound uttered with the soft palate lowered and with passage of air through the nose.

neuter n :  the gender that ordinarily includes most words or grammatical forms referring to things classed as neither masculine nor feminine. See also feminine, gender, masculine.

nominative n :  the case marking typically the subject of a verb esp. in languages that have relatively full inflection. See also case, ergative.

nonrestrictive clause n :  a descriptive clause that is not essential to the definiteness of the meaning of the word it modifies -- as who is retired in "my father, who is retired, does volunteer work". See also clause.

noun n :  any member of a class of words that typically can be combined with determiners to serve as the subject of a verb, can be interpreted as singular or plural (and in some languages dual), can be replaced with a pronoun, and refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept. See substantive.
    See also common noun, count noun, mass noun, noun phrase, proper noun, verbal noun.
    See also case, gender, inflection, number.
    See part of speech.

noun phrase n :  a phrase formed by a noun and all its modifiers and determiners; broadly: any syntactic element (as a clause, clitic, pronoun, or zero element) with a noun's function (as the subject of a verb or the object of a verb or preposition). See also noun.

number n :  a distinction of word form to denote reference to one or more than one; also: a form or group of forms so distinguished. See also dual, singular, plural.

object n : 1. a noun or noun equivalent (as a pronoun, gerund, or clause) denoting the goal or result of the action of a verb; 2. a noun or noun equivalent in a prepositional phrase.
    See also direct object, indirect object, object complement, subject.

object complement n :  a noun, adjective, or pronoun used in the predicate as complement to a verb and as qualifier of its direct object -- as chairman in "we elected him chairman". See also complement, object.

occlusive n : see stop.

optative n :  a verbal mood that is expressive of wish or desire. See also mood.

orthography n1. the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage;  2. the representation of the sounds of a language by written or printed symbols; 3. a part of language study that deals with letters and spelling.

oxytone n :  a word stressed on the ultimate syllable (like connect). See also paroxytone, proparoxytone.

palatal n 1. a consonant formed with some part of the tongue near or touching the hard palate posterior to the teethridge;  2. see front vowel.

paronym n :  a word of similar spelling (and pronunciation), but of different meaning (as differ and defer). See also word. Compare antonym, homonym, synonym.

paroxytone n :  a word stressed on the penultimate syllable (like recorder). See also oxytone, proparoxytone.

part of speech n :  a traditional class of words distinguished according to the kind of idea denoted and the function performed in a sentence. See adjective, adverb, conjunction, interjection, noun, pronoun, verb.

participle n :  a word having the characteristics of both verb and adjective; esp. an English verbal form that has the function of an adjective and at the same time shows such verbal features as tense and voice and capacity to take an object. See past participle, present participle.

passive adj and n : asserting that the grammatical subject of a verb is subjected to or affected by the action represented by that verb. See also voice, active, middle.

past participle n :  a participle that typically expresses completed action, that is traditionally one of the principal parts of the verb, and that is traditionally used in English in the formation of perfect tenses in the active voice and of all tenses in the passive voice.

past perfect n :  a verb tense that is traditionally formed in English with had and denotes an action or state as completed at or before a past time spoken of. See also tense, tenses in English.

past tense n :  a verb tense expressing action or state in or as if in the past; it is considered:
    -- expressive of elapsed time, as wrote in "on arriving I wrote a letter" (this is called aorist in the Greek grammar);
    -- expressing action or state in progress or continuance or habitually done or customarily occurring at a past time, as was writing in "I was writing while he dictated" or loved in "their sons loved fishing" (it is described in many languages as imperfect tense).
    See also tense, imperfect tense, perfect tense.

perfect participle nsee past participle.

perfect tense n :  a verb form that expresses an action or state completed at the time of speaking or at a time spoken.
    See also tense, imperfect tense, perfect tense.

penult n :  the next to the last syllable of a word.

penultimate adj :  of or relating to a penult.

perfect n :  a verb form or verbal that expresses an action or state completed at the time of speaking or at a time spoken of. See perfect tense.

perfective n :  expressing action as complete or as implying the notion of completion, conclusion, or result - perfective aspect (verb). See also aspect, imperfective, verb.

period n : 1. an utterance from one full stop to another, sentence; 2. a well-proportioned sentence of several clauses;  3. periodic sentence4. the full pause with which the utterance of a sentence closes;  5. a point (.) used to mark the end (as of a declarative sentence or an abbreviation) -- often used interjectionally to emphasize that no more need be said <I don't remember -- ~>. See also sentence.

periodic sentence n : a usu. complex sentence that has no subordinate or trailing elements following its principal clause (as in "yesterday while I was walking down the street, I saw him"). See also sentence.

person n :  reference of a segment of discourse to the speaker, to one spoken to, or to one spoken of as indicated by means of certain pronouns or in many languages by verb inflection.
    See also first person, second person, third person, pronoun, verb.

personal pronoun n : a pronoun (as I, you, or they) that expresses a distinction of person.

phoneme n :  any of the abstract units of the phonetic system of a language that correspond to a set of similar speech sounds (as the velar [k] of cook and the palatal [k] of kin) which are perceived to be a single distinctive sound in the language.

phrase n : 1. a characteristic manner or style of expression, diction;  2. a brief expression; 3. a word or group of words forming a syntactic constituent with a single grammatical function <an adverbial ~>.

phrase book n : a book containing idiomatic expressions of a foreign language and their translation.

pidgin n :  language with a greatly reduced vocabulary and a simplified grammar, often based on a western European language. Pidgins usually arise as methods of communication between groups that have no language in common; the pidgins in some instances later become established first or second languages of one of the groups involved. Some examples of pidgin are Chinese Pidgin English, Haitian French Creole, and Melanesian Pidgin English. See also lingua franca, creole.

pitch n : 1. the property of a sound and esp. a musical tone that is determined by the frequency of the waves producing it -- highness or lowness of sound; 2. the difference in the relative vibration frequency of the human voice that contributes to the total meaning of speech; 3. a definite relative pitch that is a significant phenomenon in speech. See also accent, stress.

pluperfect n : see past perfect.

plural n :  grammatical forms usu. used to denote more than one or in some languages more than two. See also number.

polysyllable n : word of many syllables. See syllable.

possessive adjective n :  a pronominal adjective expressing possession (in English my, thy, his, our etc.).

possessive case n :  a grammatical case that denotes ownership or a relation analogous to ownership. See also case, genitive.

possessive pronoun n :  a pronoun that derives from a personal pronoun and denotes possession and analogous relationships (in English mine, thine, his, ours etc.). See also pronoun.

potential n :  a verbal mood expressing possibility, liberty, or power (as in "it may snow"). See also mood.

predicate n :  the part of a sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject and that usu. consists of a verb with or without objects, complements, or adverbial modifiers.

predicate nominative n :  a noun or pronoun in the nominative or common case completing the meaning of a copula. See also copula, nominative.

predication n :  the expression of action, state, or quality by a grammatical predicate.

prefix n :  an affix attached to the beginning of a word, base, or phrase and serving to produce a derivative word or an inflectional form. Compare suffix. See also affix.

preposition n :  a function word that typically combines with a noun phrase to form a phrase which usu. expresses a modification or predication.

present participle n :  a participle that typically expresses present action in relation to the time expressed by the finite verb in its clause and that in English is formed with the suffix -ing and is used in the formation of the progressive tenses.

present tense n :  the tense of a verb that expresses action or state in the present time and is used of what occurs or is true at the time of speaking and of what is habitual or characteristic or is always or necessarily true, that is sometimes used to refer to action in the past, and that is sometimes used for future events. See also tense, tenses in English.

present perfect tense n :  a verb tense that is formed in English with have and that expresses action or state completed at the time of speaking. See also tense, tenses in English.

proclitic n :  a clitic that is associated with a following word. See also accent, clitic, enclitic, mesoclitic.

pronoun n :  any of a small set of words in a language that are used as substitutes for nouns or noun phrases and whose referents are named or understood in the context.
    See also personal pronoun, possessive pronoun, reciprocal pronoun, reflexive pronoun.
    See part of speech.

proparoxytone n :  a word stressed on the antepenultimate syllable (like America). See also oxytone, proparoxytone.

proper adjective n : an adjective that is formed from a proper noun and that is usu. capitalized in English. See adjective.

proper noun n :  a noun that designates a particular being or thing, does not take a limiting modifier, and is usu. capitalized in English -- called also proper name. See also noun.

qualifier n :  a word (as an adjective) or word group that limits or modifies the meaning of another word (as a noun) or word group.

reciprocal pronoun n : a pronoun (as each other) used when its referents are predicated to bear the same relationship to one another. See also pronoun.

reflexive pronoun n : a pronoun referring to the subject of the sentence, clause, or verbal phrase in which it stands; specif (in English the pronouns compounded with -self). See also reflexive verb, pronoun.

reflexive verb n : verb relating to an action  directed back on the agent or the grammatical subject (as in "he perjured himself"). See also verb, reflexive pronoun.

restrictive clause n :  a descriptive clause that is essential to the definiteness of the word it modifies -- as that you ordered in "the book that you ordered is out of print". See also clause.

rising diphthong n :  a diphthong in which the second element is more sonorous than the first. See also diphthong.

root n :  the simple element inferred as the basis from which a word is derived by phonetic change or by extension (as composition or the addition of an affix or inflectional ending).

run-on sentence n : a sentence containing a comma splice. See also sentence.

schwa n : 1. an unstressed mid-central vowel (as the usual sound of the first and last vowels of the English word America). 2. the symbol that is in the form of an inverted and reversed lowercase e used for the schwa sound and less widely for a similarly articulated stressed vowel (as in cut).

second person n1. a set of linguistic forms (as verb forms, pronouns, and inflectional affixes) referring to the person or thing addressed in the utterance in which they occur; a linguistic form belonging to such a set;  2. reference of a linguistic form to the person or thing addressed in the utterance in which it occurs. See also person, verb.

semivowel n1. a speech sound (as [j], [w], or [r]) that has the articulation of a vowel but that is shorter in duration and is treated as a consonant in syllabication;  2. a letter representing a semivowel.

sentence n : a word, clause, or phrase or a group of clauses or phrases forming a syntactic unit which expresses an assertion, a question, a command, a wish, an exclamation, or the performance of an action, that in writing usu. begins with a capital letter and concludes with appropriate end punctuation, and that in speaking is distinguished by characteristic patterns of stress, pitch, and pauses. See linguistic form.
    See also loose sentence, run-on sentence, periodic sentence, sentence fragment, sentence stress, topic sentence.

sentence fragment n : a word, phrase, or clause that usu. has in speech the intonation of a sentence but lacks the grammatical structure usu. found in the sentences of formal and esp. written composition.
    See also sentence.

sentence stress n :  the manner in which stresses are distributed on the syllables of words assembled into sentences. Called also sentence accent.

sibilant n :  a sibilant speech sound (as English [s], [z[, [], [], [t], or [d]). See consonant.

singular n :  a word form denoting one person, thing, or instance. See also number.

sound n :  the basic audibly distnguishable element of the speech. See phoneme.
    See also consonant, diphthong, hiatus, syllable, vowel.
    See also dental, nasal, palatal, uvular, velar.

speech n : 1. exchange of spoken words;  2. language, dialect.

speech community n : a group of people sharing characteristic patterns of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

speech form nlinguistic form.

squinting modifier n :  a modifier (as often in "getting dressed often is a nuisance") so placed in a sentence that it can be interpreted as modifying either what precedes or what follows.

stem n :  the part of an inflected word that remains unchanged except by phonetic changes or variations throughout an inflection.

stop n :  a consonant (as [b], [d], [g], [p], [t], [k] etc.) characterized by complete closure of the breath passage in the course of articulation -- compare continuant. See explosive, occlusive. See also affricate.

stress n : 1. relative force or prominence of sound in verse;  2. a syllable having relative force or prominence. See accent, pitch.

stress mark n :  a mark used with (as before, after, or over) a written syllable in the respelling of a word to show that this syllable is to be stressed when spoken. Called also accent mark.

subject n :  the noun group in a clause that refers to the main person or thing you are talking about in a statement -- as the girl in "The girl has come". See also subject complement, object, predicate.

subject complement n :  a grammatical complement relating to the subject of an intransitive verb -- as sick in "he had fallen sick". See also complement, subject.

subjunctive n :  a grammatical mood that represents a denoted act or state not as fact but as contingent or possible or viewed emotionally (as with doubt or desire). See also mood.
    For more details see The Subjunctive: General Idea.

substantive n :  noun; (broadly) a word or word group functioning syntactically as a noun.

suffix n :  an affix occurring at the end of a word, base, or phrase. Compare prefix. See also affix.

supine n 1. a Latin verbal noun having an accusative of purpose in -um and an ablative of specification in -u.  2. an English infinitive with to.

syllable n : 1. a unit of spoken language that is next bigger than a speech sound and consists of one or more vowel sounds alone or of a syllabic consonant alone or of either with one or more consonant sounds preceding or following; 2. one or more letters (as syl, la, and ble) in a word (as syllable) usu. set off from the rest of the word by a centered dot or a hyphen and roughly corresponding to the syllables of spoken language and treated as helps to pronunciation or as guides to placing hyphens at the end of a line.
    See also penult, antepenult, disyllable, monosyllable, polysyllable, trisyllable.

synonym n :  one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses. See also word, antonym. Compare homonym, paronym.

synthetic adj(of language) characterized by frequent and systematic use of inflected forms to express grammatical relationships. See also analytic.

tense n : 1. a distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time or duration of the action or state it denotes 2. a set of inflectional forms of a verb that express distinctions of time; an inflectional form of a verb expressing a specific time distinction.
    See also future tense, future perfect tense, imperfect tense, past tense, past perfect tense, perfect tense, present tense, present perfect tense, verb.

The Tenses in English
Future in the Past
I love I loved I will love I would love
I am loved I was loved I will be loved I would be loved
I am loving I was loving I will be loving I would be loving
I am being loved I was being loved I will be being loved I would be being loved
I have loved I had loved I will have loved I would have loved
I have been loved I had been loved I will have been loved I would have been loved
I have been loving I had been loving I will have been loving I would have been loving
See the Tenses in Latin, Asturian, French, Galician, Occitan, Portuguese, Spanish.

third person n1. a set of linguistic forms (as verb forms, pronouns, and inflectional affixes) referring to one that is neither the speaker or writer of the utterance in which they occur nor the one to whom that utterance is addressed b: a linguistic form belonging to such a set;  2. reference of a linguistic form to one that is neither the speaker or writer of the utterance in which it occurs nor the one to whom that utterance is addressed. See also person, verb.

tilde n (Sp. tilda <= ML. titulus "tittle") : a mark placed esp. over the letter n (ñ) to denote a [] sound or over vowels (ã, õ) to indicate nasality (as in Portuguese).

tonic accent n1. relative phonetic prominence (as from greater stress or higher pitch) of a spoken syllable or word; 2. accent depending on pitch rather than stress. See accent, pitch, stress.

topic sentence n :  a sentence that states the main thought of a paragraph or of a larger unit of discourse and is usu. placed at or near the beginning. See also sentence.

transitive verb n : verb that may have a direct object. See verb.

trigraph n 1. three letters spelling a single consonant, vowel, or diphthong: eau of beau is a trigraph. 2. a cluster of three successive letters: the, ion, and ing are high frequency trigraphs.

trisyllable n : a word of three syllables. See syllable.

triphthong n 1. a phonological unit consisting of three successive vocalic sounds in one syllable. 2. trigraph.

umlaut n : 1. the change of a vowel that is caused by partial assimilation to a succeeding sound or that occurs as a reflex of the former presence of a succeeding sound which has been lost or altered (as to mark pluralization in goose, geese or mouse, mice). 2. a vowel resulting from such partial assimilation.  3. a diacritical mark placed over a vowel to indicate a more central or front articulation; compare diaeresis.

uvula n :  the pendent fleshy lobe in the middle of the posterior border of the soft palate.

uvular n : sound produced with the aid of the uvula.

velar n : sound formed with the back of the tongue touching or near the soft palate.

verb n :  a word that characteristically is the grammatical center of a predicate and expresses an act, occurrence, or mode of being, that in various languages is inflected for agreement with the subject, for tense, for voice, for mood, or for aspect, and that typically has rather full descriptive meaning and characterizing quality but is sometimes nearly devoid of these esp. when used as an auxiliary or linking verb.
    See also aspect, conjugation, inflection, mood, person, tense.
    See also gerund, gerundive, participle, verbal noun.
    See also auxiliary verb, finite verb, intransitive verb, linking verb, reflexive verb, transitive verb.
    See part of speech.

verbal noun n :  a noun derived directly from a verb or verb stem and in some uses having the sense and constructions of a verb.
    See also noun, verb. See gerund, supine.

visible speech n1. a set of phonetic symbols based on symbols for articulatory position;  2. speech reproduced spectrographically.

vocative n :  a grammatical case marking the one addressed. See also case.

voice n :  distinction of form or a system of inflections of a verb to indicate the relation of the subject of the verb to the action which the verb expresses. See also active, middle and passive.

vowel n : 1. one of a class of speech sounds in the articulation of which the oral part of the breath channel is not blocked and is not constricted enough to cause audible friction; broadly: the one most prominent sound in a syllable; 2. a letter or other symbol representing a vowel -- usu. used in English of a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y.
    See also front vowel, schwa.
    See also great vowel shift.

word n : 1. a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use;  2. the entire set of linguistic forms produced by combining a single base with various inflectional elements without change in the part of speech elements;  3. a written or printed character or combination of characters representing a spoken word.

word stress n :  the manner in which stresses are distributed on the syllables of a word. Called also word accent.

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