Last modified on 6 April 2012, at 21:48

Wikijunior:Languages/Glossary

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alphabet — all the letters of a language.

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character — a letter, number, or punctuation mark.

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colonization — going to and conquering other countries; a way of spreading a language. Because England colonized America, the people of America now speak English.

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colonize — to send people to govern and live in another country.

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consonant — all letters except vowels.

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constructed language — a language that someone invented. This is unlike English and other natural languages whose rules and vocabulary evolved over hundreds or thousands of years.

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diacritic — a mark above, below, or around a letter that changes how it's said. It sometimes even makes a new letter.

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dialect — one form of a language; usually created when different regions develop slightly different forms of a language.

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digraph — when two letters are used to show one sound.

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emigrant — someone who have left the land where he was born and moved to another country.

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eszett — a letter which is only found in the German alphabet; it looks like this: ß.

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equivalent — equal in value, measure, force, effect, significance, etc.

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fluency — being able to speak a language without any trouble.

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infinitive — a tenseless form of a verb; it is not used for a specific period of time.

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inflection — the way words change form to show things like singular/plural or past/present/future.

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language development — the steady growth and change of a language. Languages took over a thousand years to get to what we speak today.

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linguist — someone who studies languages.

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literary — someone or something linked to literature.

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literate — someone who is literate knows how to read and write.

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literature — books, like the one you are reading now.

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migrant — a person who moves (or has already moved) from one place to another.

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minority language — a language spoken by a minority of the population of a country.

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minstrel — a poet and musician who sings or recites while playing a stringed instrument.

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mood — a certain way of saying something; these can be orders, possible actions, or regular speech.

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native speaker — someone who learned to speak a language as a child.

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phomeme — one of the basic sounds out of which words are made.

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prose — writing in sentence form; the opposite of verse.

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secondary language — any language that a person learns to speak after the first language that they learned at home.

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speech — "speaking".

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tense — a form of a verb that describes a time for an action; for example, "I went," "I am going", and "I will go" are in past, present, and future tense. They are different tenses because they describe different times when I did the action of going.

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trigraph — when three letters are used to show one sound.

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umlauts — dots, which can be placed above three of the vowels in German, and which change the sound of them. They look like this: Ää, Öö, Üü.

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verb — a word that describes an action.

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vernacular — the native language of a country.

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verse — writing in poetic form; writing not in sentences.

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virtuoso — someone who has special knowledge in or is very skilled at something.

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vowel — A, E, I, O, U in English.

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youth — a young person/people.