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2. the use of two languages, as in a community. Also bilinguality, diglottism. — bilingual, bilinguist, n. — bilingual, adj.
2. a word or phrase typical of Canadian French or English that is present in another language.
3. an instance of speech, behavior, customs, etc., typical of Canada.
2. a Celtic custom or usage.
2. the procedures and methods of making and using secret languages, as codes or ciphers. — cryptographer, cryptographist, n. — cryptographic, cryptographical, cryptographal, adj.
2.cryptography. — cryptologist, n.
2. of, pertaining to, or noting the simplified form of hieratic writing used in ancient Egypt.
3. (cap.) of, belonging to, or connected with modern colloquial Greek. Also called Romaic.
2. dialectal speech or influence.
2. an instance of such substitution. Cf. euphemism.
2. an instance of such use. Cf. dysphemism, genteelism. — euphemist, n. — euphemistic, euphemistical, euphemious, adj.
2. a French idiom or expression used in another language. Also called Frenchism.
2. an instance of such substitution.
2. a devotion to the letter, as in law or Scripture; literalism.
2. the character, spirit, principles, or customs of the Hebrew people.
3. a Hebrew loanword in English, as shekel. — Hebraist, n. — Hebraistic, Hebraic, adj.
2. an idiom peculiar to Irish English. Also called Hibernicism. — Hibernian, adj.
2. the practice of coining such words.
2. a mode of speech, idiom, or custom characteristic of the Irish. Also Iricism.
2. Italianism. See also printing.
2. a Latin word, phrase, or expression that of ten appears in another lan-guage. — Latinize, v.
2. the use or knowledge of Latin.
2. a person skilled in many languages; a polyglot.
2. a contention marked by the careless or incorrect use of words; a mean-ingless battle of words. — logomach, logomacher, logomachist, n. — logo- machic, logomachical, adj.
2. an instance of such misuse. Cf. heterophemism.
2. the coining or introduction of new words or new senses for established words. See also theology. — neologian, neologist, n. — neologistic, neologistical, adj.
2. the use of neologisms. — neoterist, n.
2. word formation by the addition of a suffix to a phrase or compound word, as nickel-and-diming. — parasynthetic, adj.
2. any artificial language, as Esperanto. — pasigraphic, adj.
2. an expression in such fashion. Cf. paraphrasis. — periphrastic, adj.
2. a mode of expression.
3. Obsolete, a phrasebook. — phraseologist, n. — phraseologic, phraseological, adj.
2. a staleness or dullness of both language and ideas. Also called platitudinism. — platitudinarian, n.
2. an instance of this, as true fact.
3. a redundant word or expression. — pleonastic, adj.
2. a mixture of languages. See also books. — polyglot, n., adj. — polyglottic, polyglottous, adj.
2. the study of linguistic development by classifying and examining changes in meaning and form. — semanticist, semantician, n. — semantic, adj.
2. a system of characters or symbols representing syllables instead of individual sounds. Also syllabarium.
2. the terms of any branch of knowledge, field of activity, etc. — terminologic, terminological, adj.
2. Germanism. — Teutonic, adj.
2. in certain languages, the use of the familiar second person in cases where the formal third person is usually found and expected.
3. an instance of such use.
2. the way in which something is worded.
3. a phrase or sentence devoid or almost devoid of meaning.
4. a use of words regarded as obscuring ideas or reality; verbiage.
2. the use of the vernacular. — vernacular, n., adj.
2. British. a linguistic or cultural trait peculiar to the United States.
3. Southern U.S. a linguistic or cultural trait peculiar to the states siding with the Union during the Civil War.
4. Northern U.S. a linguistic or cultural trait peculiar to the New England states.
- Greek is like lace; every man gets as much as he can —Samuel Johnson
- It is with language as with manners: they are both established by the usage of people of fashion —Lord Chesterfield
See Also: MANNERS
- Language, if it throws a veil over our ideas, adds a softness and refinement to them, like that which the atmosphere gives to naked objects —William Hazlitt
- Language is a city, to the building of which every human being brings a stone —Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Language is an art, like brewing or baking —Charles R. Darwin
- Languages evolve like species. They can degenerate just as oysters and barnacles have lost their heads —F. L. Lucas
- Languages, like our bodies, are in a perpetual flux, and stand in need of recruits to supply those words which are continually falling into disuse —C. C. Felton
- Show them [Americans with a penchant for “fat” talk] a lean, plain word that cuts to the bones and watch them lard it with thick greasy syllables front and back until it wheezes and gasps for breath as it comes lumbering down upon some poor threadbare sentence like a sack of iron on a swayback horse —Russell Baker
- Slang is English with its sleeves rolled up —Carl Sandburg, quoted by William Safire in series on English language, PBS, September, 1986
- To write jargon is like perpetually shuffling around in the fog and cottonwool of abstract terms —Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch
bombast Pretentious speech; high-flown or inflated language. It is but a short step from the now obsolete literal meaning of bombast ‘cotton-wool padding or stuffing for garments’ to its current figurative sense of verbal padding or turgid language. Shakespeare used the word figuratively as early as 1588:
We have received your letters full of love,
Your favors, the ambassadors of love,
And in our maiden council rated them
At courtship, pleasant jest and courtesy,
As bombast and as lining to the time.
(Love’s Labour’s Lost, V, ii)
bumf Official documents collectively; piles of paper, specifically, paper containing jargon and bureaucratise; thus, such language itself: gobbledegook, governmentese, Whitehallese, Washingtonese. This contemptuous British expression comes from bumf, a portmanteau type contraction for bum fodder ‘toilet paper.’ It has been used figuratively since the 1930s.
I shall get a daily pile of bumf from the Ministry of Mines. (Evelyn Waugh, Scoop, 1938)
claptrap Bombast, high-sounding but empty language. The word derives from the literal claptrap, defined in one of Nathan Bailey’s dictionaries (1727-31) as “a trap to catch a clap by way of applause from the spectators at a play.” The kind of high-flown and grandiose language actors would use in order to win applause from an audience gave the word its current meaning.
dirty word A word which because of its associations is highly controversial, a red-flag word; a word which elicits responses of suspicion, paranoia, dissension, etc.; a sensitive topic, a sore spot. Dirty word originally referred to a blatantly obscene or taboo word. Currently it is also used to describe a superficially inoffensive word which is treated as if it were offensive because of its unpleasant or controversial associations. Depending on the context, such a word can be considered unpopular and taboo one day and “safe” the next.
gobbledegook Circumlocutory and pretentious speech or writing; official or professional jargon, bureaucratese, officialese. The term’s coinage has been attributed to Maury Maverick.
The Veterans Administration translated its bureaucratic gobbledygook. (Time, July, 1947)
inkhorn term An obscure, pedantic word borrowed from another language, especially Latin or Greek; a learned or literary term; affectedly erudite language. An inkhorn is a small, portable container formerly used to hold writing ink and originally made of horn. It symbolizes pedantry and affected erudition in this expression as well as in the phrase to smell of the inkhorn ‘to be pedantic’ The expression, now archaic, dates from at least 1543.
Irrevocable, irradiation, depopulation and such like, … which …were long time despised for inkhorn terms. (George Puttenham, The Art of English Poesy, 1589)
jawbreaker A word difficult to pronounce; a polysyllabic word. This self-evident expression appeared in print as early as the 19th century.
You will find no “jawbreakers” in Sackville. (George E. Saintsbury, A History of Elizabethan Literature, 1887)
malapropism The ridiculous misuse of similar sounding words, sometimes through ignorance, but often with punning or humorous intent. This eponymous term alludes to Mrs. Malaprop, a pleasant though pompously ignorant character in Richard B. Sheridan’s comedie play, The Rivals (1775). Mrs. Malaprop, whose name is derived from the French mal à propos ‘inappropriate,’ continually confuses and misapplies words and phrases, e.g., “As headstrong as an allegory [alligator] on the banks of the Nile.” (III, iii)
Lamaitre has reproached Shakespeare for his love of malapropisms. (Harper’s Magazine, April, 1890)
A person known for using malapropisms is often called a Mrs. Malaprop.
mumbo jumbo See GIBBERISH.
portmanteau word A word formed by the blending of two other words. Portmanteau is a British term for a suitcase which opens up into two parts. The concept of a portmanteau word was coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass (1872):
Well, ‘slithy’ means “lithe and slimy”
… You see it’s like a portmanteau—
There are two meanings packed into one.
Carroll’s use of portmanteau has been extended to include the amalgamation of one or more qualities into a single idea or notion This usage is illustrated by D. G. Hoffman, as cited in Webster’s Third:
Its central character is a portmanteau figure whose traits are derived from several mythical heroes.
red-flag term A word whose associations trigger an automatic response of anger, belligerence, defensiveness, etc.; an inflammatory catchphrase. A red flag has long been the symbol of revolutionary insurgents. To wave the red flag is to incite to violence. In addition, it is conventionally believed that a bull becomes enraged and aroused to attack by the waving of a red cape. All these uses are interrelated and serve as possible antecedents of red-flag used adjectivally to describe incendiary language.
|Noun||1.||language - a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols; "he taught foreign languages"; "the language introduced is standard throughout the text"; "the speed with which a program can be executed depends on the language in which it is written"|
communication - something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups
usage - the customary manner in which a language (or a form of a language) is spoken or written; "English usage"; "a usage borrowed from French"
dead language - a language that is no longer learned as a native language
words - language that is spoken or written; "he has a gift for words"; "she put her thoughts into words"
source language - a language that is to be translated into another language
target language, object language - the language into which a text written in another language is to be translated
accent mark, accent - a diacritical mark used to indicate stress or placed above a vowel to indicate a special pronunciation
artificial language - a language that is deliberately created for a specific purpose
metalanguage - a language that can be used to describe languages
native language - the language that a person has spoken from earliest childhood
indigenous language - a language that originated in a specified place and was not brought to that place from elsewhere
superstrate, superstratum - the language of a later invading people that is imposed on an indigenous population and contributes features to their language
natural language, tongue - a human written or spoken language used by a community; opposed to e.g. a computer language
interlanguage, lingua franca, koine - a common language used by speakers of different languages; "Koine is a dialect of ancient Greek that was the lingua franca of the empire of Alexander the Great and was widely spoken throughout the eastern Mediterranean area in Roman times"
expressive style, style - a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period; "all the reporters were expected to adopt the style of the newspaper"
barrage, bombardment, onslaught, outpouring - the rapid and continuous delivery of linguistic communication (spoken or written); "a barrage of questions"; "a bombardment of mail complaining about his mistake"
speech communication, spoken communication, spoken language, voice communication, oral communication, speech, language - (language) communication by word of mouth; "his speech was garbled"; "he uttered harsh language"; "he recorded the spoken language of the streets"
slanguage - language characterized by excessive use of slang or cant
alphabetize - provide with an alphabet; "Cyril and Method alphabetized the Slavic languages"
synchronic - concerned with phenomena (especially language) at a particular period without considering historical antecedents; "synchronic linguistics"
|2.||language - (language) communication by word of mouth; "his speech was garbled"; "he uttered harsh language"; "he recorded the spoken language of the streets"|
speech communication, spoken communication, spoken language, voice communication, oral communication, speech
language, linguistic communication - a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols; "he taught foreign languages"; "the language introduced is standard throughout the text"; "the speed with which a program can be executed depends on the language in which it is written"
auditory communication - communication that relies on hearing
words - the words that are spoken; "I listened to his words very closely"
orthoepy, pronunciation - the way a word or a language is customarily spoken; "the pronunciation of Chinese is difficult for foreigners"; "that is the correct pronunciation"
conversation - the use of speech for informal exchange of views or ideas or information etc.
give-and-take, discussion, word - an exchange of views on some topic; "we had a good discussion"; "we had a word or two about it"
locution, saying, expression - a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations; "pardon the expression"
non-standard speech - speech that differs from the usual accepted, easily recognizable speech of native adult members of a speech community
idiolect - the language or speech of one individual at a particular period in life
monologue - a long utterance by one person (especially one that prevents others from participating in the conversation)
magic spell, magical spell, charm, spell - a verbal formula believed to have magical force; "he whispered a spell as he moved his hands"; "inscribed around its base is a charm in Balinese"
dictation - speech intended for reproduction in writing
|3.||language - the text of a popular song or musical-comedy number; "his compositions always started with the lyrics"; "he wrote both words and music"; "the song uses colloquial language"|
text, textual matter - the words of something written; "there were more than a thousand words of text"; "they handed out the printed text of the mayor's speech"; "he wants to reconstruct the original text"
song, vocal - a short musical composition with words; "a successful musical must have at least three good songs"
love lyric - the lyric of a love song
|4.||language - the cognitive processes involved in producing and understanding linguistic communication; "he didn't have the language to express his feelings"|
higher cognitive process - cognitive processes that presuppose the availability of knowledge and put it to use
reading - the cognitive process of understanding a written linguistic message; "his main reading was detective stories"; "suggestions for further reading"
|5.||language - the mental faculty or power of vocal communication; "language sets homo sapiens apart from all other animals"|
lexis - all of the words in a language; all word forms having meaning or grammatical function
|6.||language - a system of words used to name things in a particular discipline; "legal terminology"; "biological nomenclature"; "the language of sociology"|
word - a unit of language that native speakers can identify; "words are the blocks from which sentences are made"; "he hardly said ten words all morning"
markup language - a set of symbols and rules for their use when doing a markup of a document
"Language is the dress of thought" [Samuel Johnson Lives of the English Poets: Cowley]
"After all, when you come right down to it, how many people speak the same language even when they speak the same language?" [Russell Hoban The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz]
"Languages are the pedigrees of nations" [Samuel Johnson]
"A language is a dialect with an army and a navy" [Max Weinrich]
"One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland - and no other" [E.M. Cioran Anathemas and Admirations]
"Everything can change, but not the language that we carry inside us, like a world more exclusive and final than one's mother's womb" [Italo Calvino By Way of an Autobiography]
"To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my horse - German" [attributed to Emperor Charles V]
"In language, the ignorant have prescribed laws to the learned" [Richard Duppa Maxims]
"Language is fossil poetry" [Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays: Nominalist and Realist]
the tone of his language was diplomatic and polite → se expresó de forma diplomática y educada
the Spanish language → la lengua española, el idioma español
he studies languages → estudia idiomas or lenguas
she can speak six languages → habla seis idiomas
first language → lengua f materna
modern languages → lenguas fpl modernas
we don't talk the same language → no hablamos el mismo idioma
in plain language → en lenguaje sencillo
legal/technical language → lenguaje m jurídico/técnico
the language of violence → el lenguaje de la violencia
language barrier N → barrera f del idioma
language degree N → título m en idiomas
language development N → desarrollo m lingüístico
language laboratory N → laboratorio m de idiomas
language school N → academia f de idiomas
language skills NPL (with foreign languages) → facilidad f para los idiomas
language student N → estudiante mf de idiomas
language studies NPL → estudios mpl de idiomas
language teacher N → profesor(a) m/f de idiomas
French isn't a difficult language → Le français n'est pas une langue difficile.
I can speak six languages → Je parle six langues.
the English language → la langue anglaise
language[ˈlæŋgwɪdʒ] n (faculty, style of speech) → linguaggio; (national tongue, also) (fig) → lingua
the Italian language → la lingua italiana
legal/scientific language → linguaggio legale/scientifico
we don't speak the same language (fig) → non parliamo la stessa lingua
to use bad language → dire parolacce, usare un linguaggio volgare
watch your language! → attento a come parli!