Meta:Terminology

  • Phonology deals with the sounds that make up a language.
  • Morphology deals with the forms words can take in a language.
    • Inflection is modifying a word in a way that doesn't change its basic meaning.
      • wordwords
      • redredder, reddest
      • walkwalked, walks, walking
      • fall → (has) fallen
    • Derivational Morphology is modifying a word in a way that changes its meaning, and often the category of word it is.
      • agree(v) → disagree(v), agreement(n), agreeable(a)
      • burglar(n) → ex-burglar(n), burglary(n), burglarize(v), burglarious(a)
      • equal(a) → unequal(a), equalize(v), equality(n), equally(a)
  • Syntax is how words are put together to form sentences.
    • Basic English form is usually described as SVO, which stands for Subject Verb Object. SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV and OVS are all possible, with SOV being the most common, SVO next, and on through the list to OVS being the least common
      • SOV: Alice Oz imagines. (Korean, Turkish, Tamil)
      • SVO: Alice imagines Oz. (English, Chinese, Swahili)
      • VSO: Imagines Alice Oz. (Classical Arabic, Hawaiian, Welsh)
      • VOS: Imagines Oz Alice. (Malagasy, Fijian)
      • OSV: Oz Alice imagines. (Hixkaryana, Yoda from Star Wars)
      • OVS: Oz imagines Alice. (Warao)
    • This wiki, however, will use a more precise method that takes into account the differences between different sentences. Instead of subject/object, the terms Agent and Patient will be used. An Agent is the participant doing the action, while the Patient is the participant the action is done to. In sentences with only one participant, the participant will remain a Subject. English is best described as AVP/SV in this system. The following six combinations are the most natural, but exceptions can exist.
      • APV/SV: Alice Oz imagines./Alice imagines.
      • AVP/SV: Alice imagines Oz./Alice imagines.
      • VAP/VS: Imagines Alice Oz./Imagines Alice.
      • VPA/VS: Imagines Oz Alice./Imagines Alice.
      • PAV/SV: Oz Alice imagines./Alice imagines.
      • PVA/VS: Oz imagines Alice./Imagines Alice.
  • Semantics is about the meaning of words.
    • Semantic Fields are groupings of words based on their shared meanings, such as dig being related to mine and shovel, but also being related to understand in some types of slang. (Can you dig it?)
  • Pragmatics is how context contributes to meaning.
    • The meaning of "It's a grave, can you dig it?" is entirely dependant on the context in which it's asked!
  • Lexicon is a listing of words that make up a language, not unlike a dictionary.
  • Glossing is the breaking down of an utterance, translating it morpheme by morpheme. It often uses abbreviations to denote special grammatical terms. For example, "John's" would gloss as "John-'s", which is then translated as "John-GEN", with GEN meaning the genitive (possessive) case.
    • 1 - 1st person (I, me)
    • 2 - 2nd person (you, thy)
    • 3 - 3rd person (he, her, they)
    • ABL - ablative case: movement away from or out of something
    • ADJ - adjective
    • ADJZ - adjectivizer: making a noun or verb into an adjective
    • ADV - adverb or adverbial
    • AN - animate gender
    • AUG - augmentative: greater intensity or size
    • BEN - benefactive case: doing something for someone
    • CONJ - conjunction (and, but)
    • COM - comitative case: together with something
    • COMP - comparative: comparing two or more things (in quality, degree, etc)
    • DAT - dative case: the indirect object of a sentence, (She gave Jake the book.)
    • DEM - demonstrative (this one, that one, these, those)
    • DET - determiner (this, that, those, some, many)
    • DIM - diminutive: lesser intensity or size
    • DU - dual number (both)
    • EX - exclusive person: not including the listener
    • F - feminine gender
    • FORM - formal register
    • FUT - future tense
    • GEN - genitive case: possessive marking
    • IMP - imperative mood: command form
    • INAN - inanimate gender
    • INCL - inclusive person: including the listener
    • INDF - indefinite: not a specific referent (a thing instead of the thing)
    • INS - instrumental case: using or by means of something
    • IPFV - imperfective aspect: referring to an incomplete or continuing action as of the time being talked about
    • LAT - lative case: movement toward or into something
    • LOC - locative case: in the time or place of something
    • M - masculine gender
    • NMZ - nominalization: making a non-noun into a noun
    • NOM - nominative case: the subject or agent of a sentence
    • PAU - paucal number (a few, a handful)
    • PER - perlative case: movement through, across or along something
    • PERF - perfect: an action occurred before the time we're talking about, and we're focusing more on how its completion affects this time
    • PL - plural number (more than one, many)
    • PST - past tense
    • PTCP - participle: making a verb into a non-verb
    • REFL - reflexive: a pronoun that refers back to a very recent noun (himself, itself, etc.)
    • s - singular number (one)
    • SUPL - superlative: to the greatest degree of something