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Lang and lit - lists

TermDefinition
literal language actual meaning
figurative language based on comparisons or imagery (word pictures) eg simile, metaphor, personification.
alliteration repetition of initial letters.
metaphor direct comparison
simile indirect comparison using like as or than
personification giving human characteristics to non human objects, eg the disease ran through the school.
hyperbole exaggeration for effect eg a ton of homework.
onomatopoeia sound of word suggests the meaning eg buzz splash
repetition repeating words and phrases eg "break, break, break on thy cold grey stone, o sea"
cliche overused stale saying eg turning over a new leaf.
acronym a word composed of initial letters/syllables of a phrase or organisation eg anzac
allegory a story or prose on two levels, eg the lion the witch and the wardrobe
antonym a word of opposite meaning eg cold to hot.
synonym A word of similar meaning eg small, little.
pun play on words
dialogue scripted speech/conversation between people
monologue one way convo usually in play or performance
soliloquy speech when alone on stage - thoughts or feelings. eg shakespeare
formal language presise politically correct language used in formal situations and essays.
informal language language that is colloquial casual or suggests familiarity - slang
rhetorical question asking a question when no answer is expected.
superlative the extreme comparison of an adjective eg good better best- best is the superlative.
colloquial informal language or slang usually spoken not written.
dialect words and accents that belong to a region
symbolism where something represents something else eg cross - christianity.
euphemism softening of something unpleasant eg she passed away
eye of god omniscient or all-seeing third person narrative. Narrator shows the characters inner thoughts and feelings.
fable story or poem in which animals take the place of humans usually with moral eg the tortoise and the hare
genre form of literature eg short story novel play poem film
mnemonic memory aid eg my very excellent mother just served us nachos.
parody style of another work is imitated usually for humor eg bored of the rings
proverb short saying in common use and often metaphorical or traditional eg people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
rhythm the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables often in poetry. the beat eg iambic trochaic etc.
sarcasm bitter wounding remarks, often the opposite of what is meant. verbal irony.
parable bible story with moral eg the good samaritan
stream of consciousness supposedly random flow of thoughts of characters in fiction, often disjointed and difficult to follow.
style all aspects of how a piece of literature is said or written (the individual flavour of the writer)
homophone words which sound the same but mean different things meat meet which witch
assonance repetition of similar vowel sounds eg please leave these
archaism outdated words - thou art penchance
caesura pause midline in poetry I knew you in this dark : for you so frowned.
consonance repetition of consonant sounds with different vowels between eg slip slop slap
enjambement a runon line in poetry eg ' i wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills.'
active voice the subject of the sentence performs the action - the dog bit the postman
passive voice the subject of the sentence is acted upon (more formal) - the postman was bitten by the dog.
anecdote a short amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person
allusion reference to a well-known person, place or thing e.g. Classical – Zeus, historical – Hitler, literary – Shakespeare
ambiguity two possible meanings, e.g. He slipped and broke his leg in several places/ I saw her duck.
anachronism something that is out of its historical time, e.g. Macbeth watching a video of the battle against Norway / The Flintstones using a computer
analogy comparison to show a similarity, e.g. The choice of two paths in a wood is like the choices in life.
antithesis balanced, contrasting phrases or sentences, e.g. ‘to be or not to be’, ‘to err is human, to forgive, divine.’
connotation emotional meaning, e.g. ‘bath’ – warm, relaxing, peaceful
denotation dictionary meaning of a word, e.g. ‘bath’ – a vessel for washing
didactic language language intended to instruct or teach. e.g. “Fifty kilograms heavier, and a whole head longer than a lion, the tiger is the world’s uncontested supercat.”
ellipsis A series of 3 dots that indicates the omission of one or more words. It is often used in quotations, e.g. “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.”
emotive language deliberate choice of words to illicit emotion. E.g. instead of “The men were killed,” (not emotive), “The victims were executed in cold blood” (emotive).
idiom common expression not to be taken literally, e.g. It’s raining cats and dogs / Pull your socks up / Hold your horses.
imperative command form of a verb, e.g. Close the door / Give me the keys.
innuendo something hinted at but not stated directly, often with unpleasant overtones, e.g. That’s an ‘unusual’ hat.
inversion reversal of normal word order, e.g. “Drenched were the cold fuchsias,” or “We here shall constant be.”
irony a.) a perverse event or circumstance, e.g. a girl cheats on her boyfriend and while she’s out she sees her boyfriend with another girl. b.) saying the opposite of what is meant, e.g. “What a hard working girl you are!” when she is lazy.
jargon elaborate technical language used by a group or profession, e.g. engine torque / sauté / deuce
listing where the writer uses a list, e.g. she was beautiful, graceful, eloquent and rich.
extended metaphor comparison continued through a poem, fable or parable, e.g. comparing life to the seasons – ‘First is your spring, then your summer.
mixed metaphors confusing mixture of comparisons, e.g. take up arms against a sea of troubles / Oh no, I’ve got two left feet in my mouth!
neologism newly created word or phrase, e.g. Nylon, Xerox, Hoover
portmanteau word combination of two words into an appropriate third e.g. Gruffalo (gruff + buffalo), smog (smoke +fog)
propaganda persuasive language to promote a belief or value, now often seen as lies and dangerous
register the level of language according to type and appropriateness, e.g. Very formal: I hereby declare that… / Very informal: Hi, I wanna say that…
satire use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm, to expose and discourage folly or weakness, e.g. Gulliver’s Travels, The Simpsons
sibilance a specific type of alliteration, where soft consonant sounds are repeated to create a hissing effect, e.g. “Sing a song of sixpence”
statistic a fact or piece of data obtained from a study of a large quantity of numerical data, e.g. According to Statistics New Zealand, the current population is 4,543,846 people.
stereotype fixed idea of sex or type, e.g. the dumb blond / geeky scientist
syntax word order in a sentence
tone the mood or feeling conveyed by a piece, e.g. sarcastic /romantic / angry
transcript written version of spoken language
understatement said more weakly than the meaning intended, e.g. “She’s pretty good, all right” when she is incredible
verbosity using more words than necessary, e.g. owing to the fact that, cannot see the way clear to… (similar to circumlocution)
Created by: ella.simmons
 

 



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