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Analysis of Modern English  

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Dictionary of Languages
The essential guide to the languages of the world, comprehensively detailing languages in a clear A-Z style.

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Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics: The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes
The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes constitutes a comprehensive introduction to the study of world Englishes drawing on the expertise of leading authors within the field.

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The Penguin English Dictionary
Clear, detailed definitions, with particular emphasis on difficult concepts and meanings. Includes not only standard English, but also scientific and technical vocabulary, specialist terms, slang, and the English of earlier periods.

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The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style
This authoritative survey of English usage, grammar, and style offers guidance on almost any writing problem imaginable.

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Dictionary of Linguistics & Phonetics
Definitions of terms in the field of linguistics and phonetics.

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Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics - Raj Mesthrie
This work provides uniquely comprehensive and authoritative information on all aspects of sociolinguistics.

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How We Talk: American Regional English Today
In short, delightful essays, Metcalf explicates the key features that make American speech so expressive and distinct. He begins in the South, home of the most easily recognized of American dialects, travels north to New England, then on to the Midwest, the far West, and even to Alaska and Hawaii.


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General Terms

  • English Language: Topic Page
    A language belonging to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family. Its unbroken literary heritage goes back to the inflecting language, Anglo-Saxon, notably in the 8th Century epic poem Beowulf. MORE
  • Modern English
    From Collins English Dictionary: The English language since about 1450, especially any of the standard forms developed from the S East Midland dialect of Middle English. MORE
  • Linguistics: Topic Page
    Scientific study of language, covering the structure (morphology and syntax; see grammar), sounds (phonology), and meaning (semantics). MORE
  • Semantics: Topic Page
    in general, the study of the relationship between words and meanings. MORE
  • Slang: Topic Page
    Vernacular vocabulary not generally acceptable in formal usage. It is notable for its liveliness, humor, emphasis, brevity, novelty, and exaggeration. MORE
  • Jargon
    From A Dictionary of Sociolinguistics: 1. A rudimentary PIDGIN, also known as a pre-pidgin, which has an unstable structure and limited vocabulary on account of sporadic use and restriction to a few DOMAINS like trade or labour. MORE


  • Grammar: Topic Page
    Description of the structure of a language, consisting of the sounds (see phonology); the meaningful combinations of these sounds into words. MORE
  • Grammar
    From Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics: A central term in LINGUISTICS, but one which covers a wide range of phenomena, being used both in mass noun and count noun senses (as ‘grammar in general’ and ‘a grammar in particular’). MORE
  • Parts of speech in English
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide: adjective: describes a noun or pronoun (e.g. happy) MORE
  • Morphology
    From Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics: The branch of GRAMMAR which studies the STRUCTURE or FORMS of WORDS, primarily through the use of the MORPHEME construct. MORE
  • Syntax
    From Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics: A traditional term for the study of the RULES governing the way WORDS are combined to form SENTENCES in a language. In this use, syntax is opposed to MORPHOLOGY, the study of word structure. MORE
  • Transformational Grammar
    From Bloomsbury Guide to Human Thought: The study of transformational grammar is a linguistic enterprise which revolutionized the study of syntax when it first appeared in the 1950s. MORE


  • Phonology: Topic Page
    In linguistics, the study of the sound systems of languages. Its main activity is the discovery of the distinctive sounds of language. MORE
  • Generative Phonology
    From Key Ideas in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language: A branch of generative grammar that aims to establish a set of rules, principles or constraints capable of producing the surface phonetic forms of a language and of modelling the internalised linguistic knowledge of the native speaker. MORE
  • Phoneme
    From Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics: The minimal unit in the sound SYSTEM of a LANGUAGE, according to traditional PHONOLOGICAL theories. MORE


  • Dialect: Topic Page
    Variety of a language used by a group of speakers within a particular speech community. Every individual speaks a variety of his language, termed an idiolect. MORE
  • Pidgins and Creoles: An Overview
    From Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics: In 1953, the pidgin English of Papua New Guinea was described as ‘inferiority made half articulate’ and its grammar was criticized as ‘crude and incredibly tortuous’ (French 1953). MORE
  • Lingua franca: Topic Page
    An auxiliary language, generally of a hybrid and partially developed nature, that is employed over an extensive area by people speaking. MORE
  • Dialect and Dialectology
    From Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics: Dialectology is a long-established branch of linguistics: the existence of geographical diversity was among the first observations made by the Greeks. MORE
  • Variation across Englishes
    From Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics: The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes: The spread of English around the world can be described in terms of four ‘diaspora’ (Kachru et al. 2006): the first was to Scotland, Wales and Ireland; the second was to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa; the third was during the colonial era to places such as India, Singapore, Nigeria and the Caribbean; and the most recent has been to the rest of the world, such as Brazil, Japan, China and throughout continental Europe. MORE

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Articles and Essays

  • Standardized English
    From Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics: The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes: Kachru (1992: 356) describes the Three Circles Model of the sociolinguistic profile of English as consisting of ‘three concentric circles’, representing, ‘the types of spread, the patterns of acquisition, and the functional allocation of English in diverse cultural contexts’. MORE
  • Great Vowel Shift
    From A Dictionary of Sociolinguistics: A series of SOUND CHANGES, termed a CHAIN SHIFT, that took place in the English VOWEL system between around 1400 and 1600, during which LONG, HIGH vowels became diphthongs, and other long vowels moved one step upwards. MORE
  • Transformation (T)
    From Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics: A FORMAL LINGUISTIC operation which enables two levels of structural REPRESENTATION to be placed in correspondence. A transformational rule (T rule, transformation or transform) consists of a SEQUENCE of symbols which is rewritten as another sequence, according to certain conventions. MORE

Language Families

  • Indo-European: Topic Page
    Family of languages having more speakers than any other language family. It is estimated that approximately half the world's population speaks an Indo-European tongue as a first language. MORE
  • Romance: Topic Page
    Group of languages belonging to the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Italic languages). Also called Romanic. MORE
  • Germanic: Topic Page
    Subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by about 470 million people in many parts of the world, but chiefly in Europe. MORE

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