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English Glossary

Alliteration - the repetition of the same consonant sound, especially at the beginning of several consecutive words in the same line e.g. ‘Five miles meandering in a mazy motion’. (From ‘Kubla Khan’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

Aside – words spoken by a character on stage that are not intended to be heard by the other characters present

Assonance – the repetition of similar vowel sounds e.g. ‘There must be Gods thrown down and trumpets blown’ (From ‘Hyperion’ by John Keats), showing the paired assonance of ‘must’ and ‘trum...’ and ‘thrown’ and ‘blown’

Asyndetic list –a list divided by commas

Atmosphere – the pervading feeling created by a description of the setting, or the action e.g foreboding, happiness

Audience – the people being communicated to

Aural imagery – images created through sound, by the use of techniques such as alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia

Autobiography – an account of a person’s life written by him or herself

Biography – a written account or history of the life of an individual

Blank verse – unrhymed poetry that adheres to a strict pattern in that each line is an iambic pentameter (a ten-syllable line with five stresses). It is close to the rhythm of speech or prose.

Caesure – a pause or break in a line of poetry

Characterisation – the variety of techniques that writers use to create and present their characters, including description of their appearance, their actions, their speech and how other characters react to them

Climax – The most important event in the story or play

Connotation – an association attached to a word or phrase in addition to its dictionary definition.

Denouement – near the ending of a play, novel, or drama, where the plot is resolved

Direct speech – the words that are actually spoken

Drama – a composition intended for performance before an audience

Dramatic incitement – the incident which provides the starting point for the main action of the play

Dramatic Irony – a situation in a play, the irony of which is clear to the audience but not to the characters e.g in Twelfth Night, where Olivia and Orsino do not know that ‘Cesario’ (Viola) is really a girl disguised as a boy

Enjambment– when one line of poetry flows without interruption, into the next

Episode – a scene within a narrative that develops or is connected to the main story

Exposition – the opening of the play which introduces characters and sets the scene

Fact – something which has been established as true and correct

Fiction – a story that is invented, not factual, though it may be based on events that actually happened

Form – the way a poem is structured or laid out

Free Verse – a form of poetry not using obvious rhyme patterns or a consistent metre

Iambic Pentameter – a line of verse containing five feet, each foot having an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable

Imagery – the use of words to create a picture or image in the reader’s mind

Imperatives – commands Instructions or order

Interior monologue – similar to a soliloquy, a character talking to him or herself

Interview – a meeting between two people – e.g a journalist and a celebrity using questioning and discussion to ascertain information or for entertainment value

Irony – the conveyance of a meaning that is opposite to the literal meaning of the words, e.g ‘This is a fine time to tell me’, (when it is actually an inappropriate time); a situation or outcome which has a significance unforeseen at the time

Language of Advertising – features and techniques commonly found in advertising, e.g appealing adjectives, exaggeration

Metaphor – figure of speech in which a person or thing is describes as being the thing it resembles, e.g ‘she’s a tiger’ to describe a ferocious person

Mood - the atmosphere created by a piece of writing

Narration, first person – the telling of a story through the voice of a character, in their own words, e.g “I went to the fair, even though I hated it”

Narration, third person – the telling of a story through the voice of the author, describing the actions of the characters, e.g ‘He went to the fair, even though he hated it’

Narrative Structure – the way that a piece of story writing has been put together, for example, in a novel, the development of the plot through the arrangement of chapters and who is telling the story

Narrative techniques – the ways in which an author tells a story

Narrator – the person telling the story

Objective information – factual ideas

Onomatopoeia – when a word sounds like the noise it describes e.g ‘pop’ or ‘the murmuring of innumerable bees’

Opinion – a view held by some but not necessarily by others

Pathos– the effect of creating sorrow for a person in a text

Personification – the attribution of human qualities or feelings to inanimate objects; a kind of metaphor where human qualities are given to things or abstract ideas

Plot – the main story or scheme of connected events running through a play or novel

Poetic Voice – the ‘speaker’ of the poem – the ‘voice’ of the poem might be that of the poet but could be that of a character or persona from the poet’s imagination

Preview – a kind of report on a film, programme or book etc, soon to be released

Prose – any kind of writing which is not verse, usually divided into fiction and non-fiction

Purpose – the reason for the communication

Regular metre – a regular succession of groups of long and short, stressed and unstressed syllables in which poetry is often written

Repetition– repeating a word ot phrase often, to add emphasis

Review – usually a kind of report on a film, programme or book etc, already released

Rhetorical Question – question raised in speech that does not require an answer (used for effect)

Rhyme – corresponding sounds in words, often at the end of each line or within lines

Rhyming Couplet – two rhyming lines of verse

Rhythm – the ‘movement’ of a poem, as created by the metre and the way that language is stressed within the poem

Semantic Field – a set of words grouped by meaning referring to a specific subject

Setting – the period of time and the place in which the story is set

Simile – figure of speech in which a person or thing is describes as being like another, usually preceded by ‘as’ or ‘like’, e.g ‘she’s like a tiger’ to describe a ferocious person

Snapshots – separate descriptions of the stages in a sequence

Soliloquy – a speech in which a character in a play, expresses their thoughts and feelings aloud for the benefit of the audience, but not for the other characters, often in a revealing way

Stanza – the blocks of lines into which a poem is divided, forming a definite pattern

Stream of Consciousness – a narrative form where random thoughts give the impression that the words have spilled straight from the narrator’s mind

Structure – the way that a piece of story writing has been put together, for example, in a novel, the development of the plot through the arrangement of chapters

Style – (literary) the particular way in which writers use language to express their ideas

Subjective information – personal opinions and feelings

Sub-Plot – a less important part of a story, that is connected to and develops the main plot

Symbolism – similar to imagery: symbols are things that represent something else e.g red roses are given to loved ones because they symbolise love

Syndetic List – a list divided by the word 'and'

Theme – a central idea that the writer explores through a text, e.g love, loss, revenge

Tone – created through the combined effects of the author’s rhythm and diction

Voice – the speaker of the poem or prose, either the poet or author’s own voice or that of an invented character

 

 

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