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Superglossary - Literature
Category: General > Literature
Date & country: 11/12/2013, US
Words: 1716


Jargon
Potentially confusing words and phrases used in an occupation, trade, or field of study. We might sp

Jig
(possibly from Old French giguer, 'to dance, to kick, to gambol') In Renaissance drama, a jig was a

Jungian Psychology
The term refers to the theories of the Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). Jung was a

Juvenile
Publishers use the term juvenile or children's literature to designate books suitable for children,

Juvenilia
(Latinthings from youth)

Juxtaposition
The arrangement of two or more ideas, characters, actions, settings, phrases, or words side-by-side

Kaidan
Traditional Japanese ghost stories, especially folktales from the Edo period.

Kanji
A set of Japanese ideographs. The Japanese derived them from the older Chinese ideographs.

Katharsis
An alternative spelling of catharsis (see above).

Kechumaran
A family of non-Indo-European languages spoken in the Andes of South America.

Kenning
A form of compounding in Old English, Old Norse, and Germanic poetry. In this poetic device, the poe

Kentish
The Old English dialect spoken in Kent.

Khoisan
A family of non-Indo-European languages spoken in the southwestern regions of Africa.

Kigo
A traditional 'season-word' in Japanese haiku. The kigo must appear within a haiku's text or be stro

Kiltartanese
Lady Augusta Gregory's term for English with Gaelic syntax--i.e., the dialect of English spoken in K

Kinesics
In linguistics, the analysis of how body movements can communicate meaning.

Kleos
(Greek, 'What others hear about you') Renown, honor, glory, and fair reputation achieved through gre

Knight
A military aristocrat in medieval Europe and England who swore service as a vassal to a liege lord i

Koine
(Grk, 'Common') (1) Common or lower-class Greek as it was spoken throughout the Mediterranean region

Kottabos
A rowdy Greek drinking game. After draining the wine in a kylix, the drinker would stick a finger th

Lai
(plural lais, also spelled lay) A short narrative or lyrical poem, usually in octosyllabic couplets,

Laisse
A stanzaic verse paragraph. The Song of Roland, for instance, in written in a series of such units.

Lament
A formulaic expression of grief or sorrow for the loss of a person, position, or culture. It is typi

Lampoon
A coarse or crude satire ridiculing the appearance or character of another person.

Language
A particular system of signs used by members of a group to communicate with each other. These signs

Langue
(French, 'language') In Ferdinand de Saussure's theory of semiology, de Sauusure makes a distinction

Laryngeal
(1) Concerning the larynx. (2) A theoretical sound that probably existed in Proto-Indo-European, but

Late Modern English
English as spoken from about the year 1800 to the present.

Lateral
Any sound made with the air blowing out of the oral cavity on either or both sides of the tongue.

Latino-Latina Writing
Twentieth-and twenty-first-century writing and poetry by Hispanic immigrants or their children. Most

Laws Of Hospitality
Called xenia in Greek, the term refers to the custom in classical Greece and other ancient cultures

Lax Vowel
In linguistics, a vowel made with mostly relaxed tongue muscles [i], [e], [u], and [o], in contrast

Learned Word
(Note how the word learned is pronounced as two syllables in this phrase) A word--often technical in

Leit-Motif
From the German term for 'lead motif,' a leit-motif originally was coined by Hans von Wolzuegen to d

Lenaia
An Athenian religious festival occurring shortly after the Dionysia. While the Dionysia focused on t

Length
Duration of a vowel sound. Vowels can be long or short in English writing--which often uses a single

Lengthening
The change of a short vowel sound into a long one. Vowels can be long or short in English writing--w

Lenition
The softening of a consonant sound, i.e., the replacement of a hard and abrupt sound by a more hissi

Leonine Verse
Verse using internal rhyme in which the middle and end of each line rhyme. More specifically, in the

Leveling
Also called merging, in linguistics, this process is the loss of earlier distinctions in sounds or w

Lexicon
In an over-simplified sense, we might say lexicon is a fancy term scholars use when most people woul

Lexis
Not to be confused with the popular car, a lexis is the complete stock of morphemes, idioms, and wor

Libelli Missae
Books containing liturgical formulae such as Eucharistic prayers.

Licensing Act
By an order of 1581, new plays in Britain could not be performed until they were licensed by the Mas

Ligature
Any written symbol that involves squishing two or more letters into each other. The symbol for the l

Lighting
The placement, type, direction, and brightness or dimness of lights used on stage. Often lighting ca

Lilith
Lilith is alternatively depicted as the first wife of Adam before Eve's creation or a female mother

Limerick
A five-line closed-form poem in which the first two lines consist of anapestic trimeter, which in tu

Liminal
(Latin limin, 'threshold') A liminal space is a blurry boundary zone between two established and cle

Lingua Franca
(Latin, 'Frankish Language') Any language that gains international currency as a language of trade o

Linguistic Analogy
The modification of grammatical usage from the desire for uniformity. For instance, a child who stat

Linguistic Generalization
As Algeo defines it, 'A semantic change expanding the kinds of referents of a word' (319). I.e., in

Linguistics
(from Latin lingua, 'tongue') The study of language as a system, as opposed to learning how to speak

Link
Chaucer scholars use the word 'link' or 'linking passage' to refer to the material connecting the in

Linking R
In his linguistic textbooks, Algeo notes this phenomenon for students. He describes it as an /r/ pro

Liquid
A semi-consonant sound produced without friction and thus capable of being sounded continuously in t

Lists
An arena or field for chivalric combat and tournaments with bleachers or balconies set to one side w

Literal
A literal passage, story, or text is one intended only (or primarily) as a factual account of a real

Literary Climax
(From Greek word for 'ladder') The moment in a play, novel, short story, or narrative poem at which

Literature Of Sensibility
Eighteenth-century literature that values emotionalism over rationalism. This literature tends to pe

Litotes
A form of meiosis using a negative statement. (See more under discussion of meiosis.)

Loanword
A word borrowed or adapted from another language.

Loathly Lady
The motif of a ugly hag who will under set conditions transform into a beautiful maiden, or more rar

Locative
A grammatical case in many Indo-European languages that indicates location.

Locus Amoenus
(Latin, 'pleasant place') A pleasant locale and time, traditionally a green Edenic garden on a tempe

Locus Classicus
(Latin, 'classic place') A passage often cited as authoritative or illustrative on a particular poin

Logocentrism
(lit. 'word-centered') Jacques Derrida's term for a tendency to privilege thinking based on a desire

Lollard
(possibly from Dutch, 'mumbler') Lollards were heretics in the 1300s and 1400s associated with a var

Long S
One Old English variation for writing the letter s that continued to be used in Shakespeare's day--e

Long Syllable
Any syllable with (1) a long vowel or (2) any syllable with a short vowel and two or more consonants

Lords Rooms
During the Renaissance, the most prestigious and costly seating in public playhouses were the lords'

Lost Generation
A group of twentieth-century authors who grew disillusioned after World War I and lived in Europe as

Low Comedy
In contrast with high comedy, low comedy consists of silly, slapstick physicality, crude pratfalls,

Low Vowel
A vowel made with the jaw stretched open and the tongue lowered from the top of the oral cavity.

Lu Shih
(Chinese, 'regulated song') A verse form popular in China in the t'ang and Sung dynasties. It was al

Luddite
The Luddites of the early 1800s were part of an anti-technological, anti-industrial grassroots movem

Lullaby
A song written for children, especially a calming one designed to help an infant go to sleep. The ge

Lyric
(from Greek lyra 'song') The lyric form is as old as Egypt (surviving examples date back to 2600 BCE

Lyric Moment
(from Greek lyra 'song') A timeless period of introspection or memory in which a poetic speaker desc

Lyrics
(1) The words to a song. (2) Samples of lyric poetry, see discussion under lyric.

Mabinogi
(Welsh, 'Four Branches') The four branches or four parts of The Mabinogion, a medieval collection of

Macaronic Text
Any medieval or modern manuscript written in a jumble of several languages--say a mixture of Latin a

Machiavellian
As an adjective, the word refers generally to sneaky, ruthless, and deceitful behavior, especially i

Machievelle
(also spelled machiavel) A villain, especially an Italian aristocratic power-monger, or a deceitful

Macrocosm
(Cf. Microcosm) The natural universe as a whole, including the biological realms of flora and fauna,

Macron
A diacritical mark in the form of a horizontal line indicating the vowel beneath it is long.

Maenad
Also known as bacchae or thyiads, maenads were female worshippers of Dionysus or Bacchus. In the mys

Magic Realism
In 1925, Franz Roh first applied the term 'magic realism' (magischer Realismus in German) to a group

Majuscule
A large letter or a capital letter as opposed to minuscule.

Malapropism
Misusing words to create a comic effect or characterize the speaker as being too confused, ignorant,

Malayo-Polynesian
Another term for Austronesian.

Manet - Manent
Common Latin stage directions found in the margins of Shakespearean plays. Manet is the singular for

Manner Of Articulation
In linguistics, how the speech organs of lips, tongue, and vocal cords must be arranged in order to

Maqama
Picaresque Arabic stories in rhymed prose. The two most famous writers in this genre include Abu al-

Marginalia
Drawings, notation, illumination, and doodles appearing in the margins of a medieval text, rather th

Marked Word
A word that has some limitation or boundary in its meaning when contrasted with an unmarked word wit

Marriage Group
A term coined by George L. Kittredge in 1912 to describe a specific set of stories in Chaucer's Cant

Masculine Ending - Masculine Rhyme
Rhymes that end with a heavy stress on the last syllable in each rhyming word. See under discussion

Mashal
(plural meshalim) In the Hebrew tradition, a mashal is a broad, general term including almost any ty

Masoretic
(from Hebrew Masorah, 'handed over') The Masoretic texts are partly Hebrew and partly Aramaic versio