Glossary (Version 8.4)

Individual elements of a written character which have a separate linguistic identity.

(i) graphic symbols used in writing in some languages

(ii) assumed roles in dramatic performance

A grammatical unit that contains a subject and a predicate (verb) and expresses the complete proposition.

Content and language integrated learning. An approach to learning content through an additional language.

A use of more than one language in a single utterance. For example, Papa, can you buy me a panini, please? A common feature of bilingual and multilingual language use.

Similar or identical words which have shared origins. For example, father (English), Vater (German) and pater (Latin) have a shared origin. Gratitude (English) and gratitud (Spanish) are both derived from gratitudo (Latin). English ship and skiff share the same Germanic origin.

Grammatical or lexical relationships that bind different parts of a text together and give it unity. Cohesion is achieved through various devices such as connectives, ellipses and word associations. These associations include synonyms, antonyms (for example, study/laze about, ugly/beautiful), repetition (for example, work, work, work – that’s all we do!) and collocation (for example, friend and pal in, My friend did me a big favour last week. She’s been a real pal.)

Words that typically occur in close association and in particular sequence. For example, salt and pepper rather than pepper and salt and ladies and gentlemen rather than gentlemen and ladies.

A mutual and reciprocal exchange of meaning.

An acquired capability to understand and interact in context using the target language (TL). Defined by the use of appropriate phonological, lexical, grammatical, sociolinguistic and intercultural elements.

A sentence with more than one clause. In the following examples, the subordinate clauses are indicated by square brackets: I took my umbrella [because it was raining]; The man [who came to dinner] is my brother.

A degree to which language use is complex as opposed to simple. Elements of language complexity include:

A process of producing written, spoken, graphic, visual or multi-modal texts. It includes:

It also includes applying knowledge and control of language forms, features and structures required to complete the task.

A sentence with two or more main clauses of equal grammatical status, usually marked by a coordinating conjunction such as or, and, but. In the following examples, the main clauses are indicated by square brackets: [Alice came home this morning] [but she didn't stay long]. [Kim is an actor], [Pat is a teacher], [and Sam is an architect].

Strategies and processes used by listeners, readers and viewers of text to understand and make meaning. These include:

  • making hypotheses based on illustrations or text layout
  • drawing on language knowledge and experience (for example, gender forms)
  • listening for intonation or expression cues
  • interpreting grapho-phonic, semantic and syntactic cues.

An active process of making/constructing/deciphering meaning of language input through listening, reading, viewing, touching (as in braille) and combinations of these modes. It involves different elements: decoding, working out meaning, evaluating and imagining. The process draws upon the learner’s existing knowledge and understanding, text–processing strategies and capabilities; for example, inferencing or applying knowledge of text types and social and cultural resources.

A language used to refer to the perceptible and material world and to particular persons, places and objects. For example, school, girl; as opposed to abstract language, used to refer to ideas or concepts removed from the material world such as peace, kindness, beauty.

A part of speech that signals relationships between people, things, events, ideas. For example, Sophie and her mother might come and visit, or they might stay at home. The conjunction and links the two participants, while or links alternative options.

A subject matter used as a vehicle for language learning.

An environment and circumstances in which a text is created or interpreted. Context can include the general social, historical and cultural conditions in which a text exists or the specific features of its immediate environment, such as participants, roles, relationships and setting. The term is also used to refer to the wording surrounding an unfamiliar word that a reader or listener uses to understand its meaning.

An accepted language or communicative practice that has developed and become established over time. For example, use of punctuation or directionality.

Develop and/or produce spoken, written or multimodal texts in print or digital forms.

Sources of information used to facilitate comprehension of language, that may be visual, grammatical, gestural or contextual.

In earlier models of language teaching and learning, culture was represented as a combination of literary and historical resources, and visible, functional aspects of a community group’s way of life such as food, celebrations and folklore. While these elements of culture are parts of cultural experience and organisation, current orientations to language teaching and learning employ a less static model of culture. Culture is understood as a framework in which things come to be seen as having meaning. It involves the lens through which:

  • people see, think, interpret the world and experience
  • make assumptions about self and others
  • understand and represent individual and community identity.

Culture involves understandings about ‘norms’ and expectations, which shape perspectives and attitudes. It can be defined as social practices, patterns of behaviour, and organisational processes and perspectives associated with the values, beliefs and understandings shared by members of a community or cultural group. Language, culture and identity are understood to be closely interrelated and involved in the shaping and expression of each other. The intercultural orientation to language teaching and learning is informed by this understanding.