English Literature and Language A2 Key Words

Luke Davies
Flashcards by Luke Davies, updated more than 1 year ago
Luke Davies
Created by Luke Davies almost 6 years ago


A-Levels English Literature and Language (A2) Flashcards on English Literature and Language A2 Key Words, created by Luke Davies on 03/17/2014.

Resource summary

Question Answer
Absurdist Writing which presents us with the idea that life has no intrinsic meaning, and that it is in fact pointless
Accent A form of pronunciation associated with a particular district
Adjacency Pairs A pair of utterances from different speakers where the second speaker is controlled by the first speakers utterance. This occurs in a question-answer format, for example, or when one person greets another
Agenda-setting This refers to the person who takes the initiative and chooses the topic being talked about
Alienation A theatrical technique developed by the dramatist Bertolt Brecht where a commonly held belief is challenged and the audience is made to reconsider its validity
Alignment This is indicated by repetition of a speaker's phrase
Alliteration The use of the same consonant at the beginning of words close together, for emphasis
Antithesis Constructions in which words are opposed, or contrasted, but balanaced
Aptronym A term used for stock characters whose name embody their characteristics
Argot Special vocabulary used by a particular group and often not understood by outsiders
Assonance The repetition of similar vowel sounds, especially with words on stressed syllables
Bathetic Anti-climatic speech or situation. It occurs when there is a change from a serious mood to a more trivial or down-to-earth mood. This often leads to humour. Bathos is the noun
Blank Verse Unrhymed verse, usually with 10 syllables to a line, with alternate unstressed and stressed beats
Body Language Gestures such as nodding or waving, or facial expressions. Body language can be used to indicate turn-taking in discourse: an inclination of the head or movement of the hand, or a direct gaze
Caesura Another word for a pause of break within a line of a verse. Caesura's can occur at the beginning (initial), middle (medial) or end of a line (terminal). Creating a sense of balance, they can be effective in initial and medial positions by drawing attention to a significant word
Catharsis The outpouring of emotions and the relief of tension that the audience feels at the climatic moment of the play
Characterisation How and author uses dialogue, actions and behaviour to develop a character's personality
Choric Taking on the role of a 'chorus', and commenting and reflecting on the action
Chronological Following a strict time sequence
Clauses Constructions that consist minimally of a subject and a verb
Cliched A pejorative term for an over-used phrase that has lost all freshness
Climax An ascending series of events or ideas which intensify, or a moment of decision
Colloquial A semi-technical term for the everyday, or vernacular, form of language which is informal and may include slang words
Comedies Plays which may include scenes of sadness and loss, but are predominantly cheerful, ending in harmony, often symbolised by marriage
Complex Sentences Sentences which contain more than once clause, linked by subordinating conjuctions
Connotations Associated ideas suggested or implied by the words
Construct Something carefully shaped and created rather than naturally occuring
Contemporary From the same historical time
Convergence When a speaker wants to show orientation with another speaker they may need to change their normal speech, perhaps by adopting a more formal higher prestige form (upward convergence) or by adopting an informal register (downward convergence). The opposite is divergence, where the speaker wants to isolate themselves from another speaker to ensure differentiation
Demotic Everyday, ordinary language. The term 'prosaic' is also used to refer to commonplace
Denouement This is when the tangles of the plot are unraveled and all is revealed and resolved
Dialect A variety of language where the regional or social background of the speaker can be identified from non-standard variations in the vocabulary and grammar
Dramatic Effects Effects created by the writer to evoke and emotional or intellectual response
Dramatic Irony This is where the character is blind to circumstances of which the audience is all too well aware, creating poignancy as the plot unfurls
Dualism In philosophy, this is the view that the world comprises two opposing entities such as mind and matter; in psychology this is the view that the mind and body function separately; in theology this is the view that the world is ruled by the opposed forces of good and evil, and the concept that humans have two basic natures - the physical and the spiritual
Dystopias Pictures of an unpleasant, harsh world (the opposite of utopia)
Elision The omission of a sound or syllable, usually marked by an apostrophe, e.g. 'she'd', 'didn't'
Ellipses The omission of part of a sentence for economy and emphasis
Endorsement Where a speaker wishes to endorse another speaker's view or statement to indicate solidarity by reinforcement, though it might also be used to bid for a turn such as 'yes, you're right there, I feel there is also'
Enjambement The continuation of a phrase or unit of meaning from one line to the next without a break in the poem
Existentialist Writing which follows the philosophical concept that denies there is meaning the life other than what we create for ourselves
Face-Threatening Acts Brown and Levison use the terms 'positive face' and 'negative face'. We have positive face needs which means we want to be liked and valued. Our negative face is a defensive one, we do not want to be imposed on or told what to do. Face-threatening refers to when our face needs our flouted, and in drama such flouting creates tension
Fallacious Deceptive, misleading, illogical, wrong
Field-specific This refers to a particular semantic field, such as language linked with war, or with flowers, or with horse racing; words that are connected in meaning or range in reference
Filled Pauses Vocal Hesitations, e.g. 'erm'
Foregrounded A term used when a writer or speaker brings a topic to the foreground, i.e. emphasizes it
Free Indirect Speech A narrative method in which the actual words of a character are not reproduced, but the reported words reflect the tone of voice of the speaker
Fricative A severe sound created by breath forcing out the consonant 'f', in this example
Gatekeeper A person with the power to control the discourse, governing the turn-taking or the ritual
Genre From the French word for 'kind' or 'class'. The audience will have expectations of particular genres
Gothic Literature A genre which combines aspects of horror, mystery and romance
Greek Tragic Model Put simply this includes the notion of a noble hero with a character flaw which leads to his/her downfall
Hedge This refers to using a softening phrase to weaken the impact of an utterance
Homophones Distinct words that are spelled differently but sound the same e.g. 'break' and 'brake'
Hubris A Greek term meaning arrogance and pride. In classical tragedy, a protagonist will defy the laws of the Gods (a flaw of a character known as hamartia), leading to an inevitable downfall. Hubris is the common example of hamartia in tragedy
Hyperbole Exaggeration used deliberately for emphasis
Iambic Pentameter This is the commonest blank verse meter. An iamb is a metrical foot of two syllables, short then long, first unstressed then stressed. Five of these create a pentameter
Idiolect An individual's particular way of speaking
Idiomatic Speech typical of people or place. The origin of the word is the Greek idios meaning 'one's own, peculiar, strange'. Idioms break the rules semantically, e.g. 'jump the gun'. This cannot be understood literally, but it is a colourful idiomatic phrase
Idiosyncratic Particular to one individual, often with the implication of quirkiness or eccentricity
Imagery This refers to figurative language. An image or picture can be created by imagery, but it can also be created by a plainer speaking
Incrementum The action or process of gradually increasing. It usually refers to lists which build up to a climax
Interactional Features Features of spoken discourse which are commonly seen when people interact, such as someone being dominant
Intrusive Commentary The author interrupts the story to comment on, for example, the social background or related philosophical ideas
Ironic Having meaning or significance different from that which at first appears
Irony Language that conveys a meaning often the opposite of what words might literally suggest
Lampooning Satirically attacking and ridiculing a person, political party, writer, etc. Often light hearted in tone
Latinate Expressions Words which have Latin origins and are often polysyllabic
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