Sentence consisting of different types of words
Sentence consisting of different types of words

Glossary of linguistic terms

Similarly to our first glossary, this one is dedicated to the linguistic terms that will be needed to understand the content of the following weeks. Here is a list of the terms that were introduced and their definitions.

At the very bottom of this page, you can download the list as a pdf.


  • Word class describing qualities (of nouns): big, democratic


  • Impairment to at least one of the modalities of language (production and comprehension of spoken and written language), mostly caused by brain damage through trauma or stroke


  • Also called determiner, accompanies a noun or adjective: a(n), the


  • The movement of speech organs such as tongue, lips, jaw, vocal folds etc to produce speech sounds.

Broca, Paul

  • See next step


  • Written element of language, representing syllables or whole words


  • The set of rules of a language that defines how sentences are built to form a unit


  • Written element of alphabet, representing sounds


  • Discipline of linguistics that is concerned with the neural basis of language in the human brain


  • One of the universal word classes, denoting people, places, event, substances…, often marked for gender, number and case: table, elephant, democracy


  • Word class denoting spatial or temporal relation of two entities: under, in


  • Second universal word class, denoting actions or states, often marked for person, number, tense, aspect, mood and various other linguistic features: walking, thinking, voting

Wernicke, Carl

  • See the next step

Word finding difficulties

  • A phenomenon that accompanies several aphasias, but can happen in the healthy brain as well. The situation of searching for a specific content word (noun, verb or adjective), while being able to produce the rest of the sentence

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This article is from the free online course:

Language Testing During Awake Brain Surgery

University of Groningen