Glossary of Terms on Language101.com
Airport kiosk – A stand-alone desk or an interactive computer terminal that provides information, goods, or services. In many airports, individuals can purchase tickets, check baggage, and monitor the status of arriving and departing flights at a specific airline’s computerized kiosks. Several airlines rely on kiosks to ease congestion and prevent long lines at check-in counters. An airport kiosk may also be a booth where people can purchase food, magazines, or souvenirs from a salesperson before or after a flight.
Binaural beat tapes – Tape of what are also called binaural tones, and auditory processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, the perception of which arises in the brain for specific physical stimuli. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, and earned greater public awareness in the late twentieth century based on claims that binaural beats could help induce relaxation, creativity, and other desirable mental states.
The brain produces a phenomenon resulting in low-frequency pulsations in the loudness and sound localization of a perceived sound when two tones at slightly different frequencies are presented separately, one to each of a subject’s ears, using stereo headphones. A beating tone will be perceived, as if the two tones mixed naturally, out of the brain. The frequency of the tones must be below about 1,000 to 1,500 hertz for the beating to be heard. The difference between the two frequencies must be small (below about 30 Hz) for the effect to occur; otherwise, the two tones will be heard separately and no beat will be perceived.
Bookchip – Compact digital memory cards that can hold five, ten, or up to fifteen hours of spoken audio. A single bookchip — not much larger than a postage stamp — can hold entire audiobooks that would traditionally require a half-dozen to a dozen compact discs or cassettes.
Canadian French lessons – Language that is taught to the learners as French is considered a mother tongue in Canada. Canadian French is less clearly articulated, with less lip movement and with a more monotonous intonation than standard French. Some change in consonantal sounds occurs, such as [t] and [d] shift to [ts] and [dz], respectively. Both [k] and [g] followed by [i] or [e] become palatalized (pronounced with the tongue touching the hard palate, or roof of the mouth). Nasal vowels tend to lose the nasal element.
Core vocabulary – Known as “basic vocabulary.” In linguistics, it is the set of lexical items in a language that are most resistant to replacement, referring to the most common and universal elements of human experience, such as parts of the body (foot, eye), universal features of the environment (water, star), common activities (eat, sleep), and the lowest numerals.
Cyrillic alphabet – A writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire in the ninth or tenth century to write the Old Church Slavonic liturgical language. The modern Cyrillic alphabet continues to be used primarily for Slavic languages and for Asian languages that were under Russian cultural influence during the twentieth century.
Dead language – A language that is no longer learned as a native language.
Diphthong – A type of vowel in which two vowel sounds are connected in a continuous, gliding motion. Diphthongs are often referred to as gliding vowels. Most languages have a number of diphthongs, although that number varies widely, from only one or two to fifteen or more.
Dynamic Immersion – A language learning emerged in the Middle Ages as monks sought to learn Latin and classical Greek, orally extinct languages that remained only in textual form. Grammar translation was thus the only method suitable for deciphering them. Bypassing grammar translation is the crux of Rosetta Stone’s methodology, which the company calls “dynamic immersion.” Essentially, it attempts to mimic our natural process of language acquisition.
English language dictionaries – A reference book containing an alphabetical list of the lexical items of a language, together with their meanings, descriptions of their use or other linguistic information. Cf. glossary, vocabulary.
Ethical language learning software – Ethical language uses words, terms, and phrases from normal language, but they normally do not have the same meaning. Words such as “good” have a variety of meanings in normal everyday use but also have several different meanings when used in moral philosophy. For example, the dictionary gives the following definitions of the word good: “having the right or desired qualities, satisfactory, adequate, efficient, competent, reliable, strong, kind, benevolent, morally excellent, virtuous, charitable, well-behaved, enjoyable, agreeable, thorough, considerable.” Then good can be used to mean the following in moral philosophy: an inherent quality which is widely beneficial, the opposite of bad or evil, something one or more persons approves of, useful in that the good action/concept/attitude enriches human life, or God-like or what God wants.
First language – A native language, arterial language, or a mother tongue a person has learned from birth or speaks the best, and is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity.
Flag lapel pin – A small pin often worn on the lapel of a dress jacket. Lapel pins can be purely ornamental or can indicate the wearer’s affiliation with an organization or cause.
Foreign accents – Someone who speaks their native language mixed with a foreign or dialectical accent. Foreign accent may refer to accent (linguistics) diacritic, an accent mark in writing non-native pronunciations of English, or Anglophone pronunciation of foreign languages.
Foreign language club – Adds significant dimension to student understanding of the language, as well as the culture represented. These clubs have many opportunities for fun, creative, and educational language club activities. Turning a language club into a real adjunct of classroom foreign language studies is not difficult and opens the door for students to see and experience the language in another, more personal dimension. It stimulates interest in foreign languages and cultures; encourages interested persons to pursue the study of a foreign language(s); and establishes, encourages, and maintains rapport among the language majors.
Foreign language teachers – The teachers who are teaching the students to have a second language acquisition, which means the learning of a foreign or second language. Other teachers are taking their students to places where foreign languages are spoken. Immersing yourself in a language is the best way to become fluent. It will give a lifelong source of personal pleasure and increase career options.
French accent – French is notable for its uvular “r,” nasal vowels, and two processes affecting word-final sounds: liaison, a certain type of sandhi, wherein word-final consonants are not pronounced unless followed by a word beginning with a vowel; and elision, wherein a final vowel is elided before vowel initial words.
French grammar – The grammar of the French language, which is similar to that of the other Romance languages. French is a moderately inflected language. Nouns and most pronouns are inflected for number (singular or plural); adjectives, for the number and gender (masculine or feminine) of their nouns; personal pronouns, for person, number, gender, and case; and verbs, for mood, tense, and the person and number of their subjects. Case is primarily marked using word order and prepositions, and certain verb features are marked using auxiliary verbs.
French verbs – A complex area of French grammar, with a conjugation scheme that allows for three finite moods (with anywhere from two to five synthetic tenses), three non-finite moods, three voices, and three grammatical aspects. There are also irregular verbs that conjugate differently.
Gaelic – An adjective that means “pertaining to the Gaels,” including language and culture. As a noun, it may refer to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually.
German accent – A German pronunciation mixed with the intonation and diction of another language.
German grammar – The study of grammar in the German language.
High German – High German is the variety of German spoken in central and south Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. High German is not a dialect, but rather a variety with many different dialects of its own. The standardized form of German used in literature and formal situations throughout Germany and Austria, called Hochdeutsch — literally “High German” — is one dialect of High German. In English, the term “High German” is not properly used to refer to this standardized German, as it encompasses a much wider group of speaking styles.
Human memory – In psychology, memory is an organism’s ability to store, retain, and recall information. Traditional studies of memory began in the fields of philosophy, including techniques of artificially enhancing the memory. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century put memory within the paradigms of cognitive psychology. In recent decades, it has become one of the principal pillars of a branch of science called cognitive neuroscience, an interdisciplinary link between cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Human memory as a novel “telephone line” that carries information from the past to the future. The capacity of this “telephone line” can be determined by measuring the information that goes in and the information that comes out, and then applying the great power of modern information theory.
Human teacher – Human teachers characteristically perform a wide range of activities subsumed under the general heading of “teaching.” These include planning and designing, demonstrating, guiding, telling, questioning, testing, recording, motivating, criticizing — even learning. Many of these aspects of a teacher’s role require significant expertise and the making of finely tuned and sensitive judgments based on both breadth and depth of experience. This is important, for instance, in relation to the provision of appropriate scaffolding to learners. It can also be argued that the human teacher is in a strong position, in particular by virtue of overall life experience and sophistication as a communicator, to both model and facilitate co-operative learning behaviors.
Kelly Howell – Highly acclaimed for her pioneering work in healing and mind expansion. With more than two million audio programs in print, and decades of experience, she is a leader in the field of self-help audio.
Over the years, Kelly has worked in cooperation with eminent scientists, medical professionals, and brain researchers to develop her groundbreaking audio programs. Her clinically proven Brainwave Therapy programs are used in hospitals and by renowned physicians and therapists around the globe.
Language Learner – A scientific journal dedicated to the understanding of language learning broadly defined. It publishes research articles that systematically apply methods of inquiry from disciplines including psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, educational inquiry, neuroscience, ethnography, sociolinguistics, sociology, and semiotics. It is concerned with fundamental theoretical issues in language learning such as child-, second-, and foreign-language acquisition, language education, bilingualism, literacy, language representation in mind and brain, culture, cognition, pragmatics, and inter-group relations. A subscription includes an annual supplement, a volume from the Best of Language Learning Series or the Language Learning Monograph Series, as well as a biennial monograph, the Language Learning-Max Planck Institute Cognitive Neurosciences Series.
The Little Prince – (French: Le Petit Prince), a book published in 1943, French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s most famous novella. Saint-Exupéry wrote it while living in the United States. It has been translated into more than 190 languages and has sold more than 80 million copies, making it the biggest selling French-language book and one of the best selling books ever.
An earlier memoir by the author recounts his aviation experiences in the Saharan desert. He is thought to have drawn on these same experiences for use as plot elements in The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry’s novella has been adapted to various media over the decades, including stage, screen, and operatic works.
Living languages – Refers to any human language that is currently in spoken use. The term is used in language education to distinguish between languages which are used for day-to-day communication and those that have ceased to be used as such.
Long-term memory – Long-term memory (LTM) is memory that can last as little as a few days or as long as decades. You can recall general information about the world that you learned on previous occasions, memory for specific past experiences, specific rules previously learned, and the like.
Mental agenda – A mental agenda is a formulation. It is formulated by reaching down inside yourself and pulling out what is there.
Native speaker – A speaker of a particular language who has spoken that language since earliest childhood.
Person classes – A traditional classroom setting where personal interaction occurs.
Phonetics – A branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds (phones), their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory perception, and neurophysiological status.
Pimsleur – A language-learning method developed by Paul Pimsleur. According to its website, the system is based on four main ideas: anticipation, graduated interval recall, core vocabulary, and organic learning. The Pimsleur method is an audio-based system, in which the listener constructs phrases or repeats from memory along with a recording. A series of audiobooks based on the Pimsleur method has been developed by publishing company Simon & Schuster. The system, as currently packaged by Simon & Schuster, is made up of multiple thirty-minute lessons, which are repeated until 80-percent comprehension is attained, at which point the user may advance to the next lesson. The Pimsleur website claims that because the lessons repeat themselves and add new material, they do not demand 100-percent mastery before moving on. Pimsleur courses focus on proficiency in speaking as well as reading proficiency.
Polish accent – A Polish language that stressed on the Polish vowel system. Polish vowel system is relatively simple with only six oral and two nasal vowels. All Polish oral vowels are monophthongs, which are shown to the right. The (spelt ‹y›) and (spelt ‹i›) have largely complementary distributions.
PubMed – A free database accessing the MEDLINE database of citations, abstracts, and some full-text articles on life sciences and biomedical topics.
Pushkin lessons – Lessons from Alexander Pushkin, the father of Russian literature. Poetry was not only relegated to the educated classes, but offered something to speakers of Russian as well. Pushkin’s importance during his lifetime was that of a national hero — someone who had re-created the way anyone who was anyone (and the way all those Russian-speaking “nobodies”) thought about, and treated, literature. The first reason for Pushkin’s past and contemporary importance is the fact that he revolutionized Russian literature. The second way in which Alexander Pushkin maintained literary importance was through other Russian writers paying homage to him through their own writing.
Regional accents – In linguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation of a language. Accents can be confused with dialects, which are varieties of language differing in vocabulary, syntax, and morphology, as well as pronunciation. Dialects are usually spoken by a group united by geography or social status.
Rosetta Stone – Proprietary language-learning software produced by Rosetta Stone, Ltd. Its title and its logo refer to the Rosetta Stone, an artifact inscribed in multiple languages that helped Jean-François Champollion to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. The software is created by Rosetta Stone Ltd., headquartered in Arlington County, Virginia.
The Rosetta Stone software uses a combination of images, text, and sound, with difficulty levels increasing as the student progresses, in order to teach various vocabulary terms and grammatical functions intuitively, without drills or translation. This is called the “Dynamic Immersion method.” According to the company, the software is designed to teach languages the way first languages are learned. However, the refusal of Rosetta Stone to use the first language to establish meaning gives a product that is of variable utility, depending on how accurately the student can guess what the foreign language utterance really means based on pictures that can be imprecise or even reused to convey a different meaning.
Russian accent – Russian sounds characterized as lips may be flatter and the teeth are closer together. Russian sounds are generally pronounced more harshly. This means that there is more force to say the words. Russians pronounce many consonants and vowels in a distinctly different way from their English counterparts. For example, Russians pronounce English “w” as “v”. They do not use articles or the word “to” before verbs. They omit the words “the,” “a,” “an,” and “to” from speech.
Russian grammar – encompasses a highly synthetic morphology, a syntax that, for the literary language, is the conscious fusion of three elements: a Church Slavonic inheritance; a Western European style; a polished vernacular foundation. The Russian language has preserved an Indo-European synthetic-inflexional structure, although considerable leveling has taken place. The spoken language has been influenced by the literary but continues to preserve characteristic forms. The dialects show various non-standard grammatical features, some of which are archaisms or descendants of old forms since discarded by the literary language.
Russian language teacher – Teaches Russian language lessons, tutoring, and translation. The instructor is fluent in English, and has extensive experience in tutoring/teaching in her native Russian language.
Russian poetry – A poetry in which the primary structure of the anthology is reverse-chronological. It begins with the contemporary poetry scene and traces back through two centuries of Russian heritage to the beginnings of the poetic tradition. It was in the second half of the 20th century that the English-speaking public really became aware of the greatness of some of the Russian poetry.
Spaced repetition – A learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned material; this exploits the psychological spacing effect. Alternative names include spaced rehearsal, expanding rehearsal, graduated intervals, repetition spacing, repetition scheduling, spaced retrieval, and expanded retrieval.
Second language – A second language (L2) is any language learned after the first language or mother tongue (L1). Some languages, often called auxiliary languages, are used primarily as a second language or lingua franca.
A person’s first language may not be their dominant language, the one they use most, or are most comfortable with. For example, the Canadian census defines first language for its purposes as “the first language learned in childhood and still spoken,” recognizing that for some, the earliest language may be lost, a process known as language attrition. This can happen when young children move, with or without their family (because of immigration or international adoption), to a new language environment.
Special characters – A character encoding system consists of a code that pairs each character from a given repertoire with something else, such as a sequence of natural numbers, octets or electrical pulses, in order to facilitate the transmission of data (generally numbers and/or text) through telecommunication.
Thomas Paine – An author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He has been called “a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination.” Paine called for American independence in his 1776 pamphlet, “Common Sense,” which was widely distributed and had a profound influence on public opinion in America.
Windows Media Player – A video and audio stream recorder. It supports Windows Media, RealAudio, Flash, QuickTime, and other audio and video formats. It also provides automatic URL detection and real-time recording. It features multiple downloads, real-time playback, scheduled recordings, password-authenticated streams, and resume/reconnect options. Up to fifty video or audio streams can be simultaneously recorded and played back in real time depending on the connection bandwidth and computer speed.