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CD 668 Chapter 1 Terms


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Study of the sound system of language. The sounds the language uses, as well as the rules for their combination.
A group of similar sounds that are regarded as all the same by the speakers of a language. Example: all of the different sounds that English considers to be T sounds. (If you change one phoneme in a word you can change the word to a non-word or to a different word.)
The meaning of a language (vocabulary, the lexicon).
The rules for how to combine words into acceptable phrases and sentences and how to transform sentences into other sentences. (The arrangement and structure of words)
The rules that govern the use of morphemes in a language. (i.e. the morphology of English requires that plural endings vary according to the last sound of the word stem).
The smallest unit of meaning in language; it cannot be broken into any smaller parts that have meaning.
Free Morpheme
Words that can stand-alone. (i.e. the words cat and danger).
Bound Morpheme
Cannot stand-alone and are always found attached to free morphemes. (i.e. Happiness, unclear, and singing contain the bound morphemes -ness, -un, and -ing.)
Derivational Morpheme
Bound morphemes that can be used to change one word into another word that may be a different part of speech; for instance, -ness turns the adjective happy into the noun happiness. In this case, they are called derivational morphemes because they can be used to derive new words.
Linguistic Competence
An individual who acquires the phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics of a language.
The system of rules that dictates the way language is used to accomplish social ends. (The use of communication for social purposes)
Communicative Competence
Goes beyond linguistic competence to include the ability to use language appropriately in a variety of situations. In other words, it requires knowledge of the social rules for language use, or pragmatics.
Decontextualized Language
Language that makes reference to people, events, and experiences that are not part of the immediate context. Talking about things other than the here and now.
Contextualized Language
Language that makes reference to people, events, and experiences that are part of the immediate context. Things that are in the here and now.
The knowledge base we put together to understand something. We are all building schemas all the time.
Linguists’ term for the inner knowledge one has of language and all of its linguistic rules and structures.
The understanding of language. Comprehension typically precedes production, and is governed by a different set of constraints.
Present at birth, part of an organism’s essential nature.
Lateralized Brain Function
The process whereby one side of the brain becomes specialized for particular functions; for instance, the left side becomes lateralized for language.
Metalinguistic Awareness
An ability that makes it possible for children to think about their language, understand what words are, and even define them.
A new, made up word, often not a word in the language.
Overlaid Function
The organs involved in production of speech (such as the tongue and lungs) all have primary functions other than language. It requires an extraordinary degree of physiological coordination to articulate while continuing functions such as breathing and swallowing.
Species Specific
Human language is unique to humans and essentially similar in all humans.
Specific Language Impairment
Problems in language development accompanied by no other obvious physical, sensory, or emotional difficulties.
Telegraphic Speech
Speech that consists of content words without functors, much like a telegram. Speech without articles, prepositions, inflections, or any other grammatical modifications that adult language requires.

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