Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development
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Alphabetised listing of all terms:
The process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group.
Acquired alexia
A condition that involves the loss of a previously possessed ability to read, despite intact vision.
Acquired phonological dyslexia
A condition that involves difficulty with reading unfamiliar words or nonwords (e.g., NUST, MAVE, PLINDER) but not with reading familiar words (Beauvois & Derouesné, 1979).
Acquired surface dyslexia
A condition that involves difficulty with reading of exception words, which have irregular spellings (e.g., HAVE, GREAT, PINT), compared to words with regular spellings (e.g., GAVE, BEAT, MINT) and nonwords (e.g., MAVE, SLEAT, BINT) (Marshall & Newcombe, 1973; Patterson et al., 1985).
Active/passive contrasts
Grammatical voices. When the subject is the agent or doer of the action, the verb is in the active voice. When the subject is the receiver, target or undergoer of the action, it is said to be in the passive voice.
Additive bilingualism
An environment in which children's first language is valued and maintained as they learn a second or additional language (Cummins, 1983; Lee & Oxelson, 2006).
Agentless passives
A sentence in the passive voice that does not indicate who performed the action (e.g., the ball was hit).
A deficiency or the loss of the ability to write and spell when writing.
The result of one category being inflected to mark properties of another (e.g., the verb is marked for the person and/or the number of the subject) (O’Grady & Archibald, 2004). 
Alexia without agraphia (pure word blindness)
A condition that involves having preserved writing abilities but impaired reading abilities.
In mathematics, an algorithm is a set of precise step-by-step instructions for how to arrive at an answer to a given problem; a formal procedure that is usually explicitly taught.
In Canada, a person whose first language is neither English nor French.
Alphabetic principle
The understanding that letters and combinations of letters are the symbols used to represent the speech sounds; and that there are systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken words.
Alphabetic system
A writing system which has mostly one-to-one mapping between symbols (or letters) and sounds.
Sounds produced with the tongue contacting the upper alveolar ridge (e.g., /t/ and /d/). 
Analytic phonics
A form of phonics teaching in which 'sounding-out' words is not explicitly taught or encouraged. Instead, teachers show children how to deduce the common letter and sound in a set of words which all begin or end with the same letter or sound (e.g., pet, park, push, pen).
A person whose first language is English.
Angular gyrus (AG)
A brain region located in the parietal lobe of the brain, behind the supramarginal gyrus and in front of the occipital lobe. It is involved in the processing of auditory and visual perception and in the comprehension of language.
Animate/inanimate markers
In some languages, different possession verbs and pronouns are used depending on whether the object is animate or inanimate.
Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)
A brain region located near the top of the frontal lobes and along the walls that divide the left and right hemispheres. It is involved in a wide variety of cognitive and emotional functions. It plays a key role in the brain's ability to process particularly complex and challenging cognitive tasks.
Approximate number system
An innate ability to represent or estimate the approximate number of items very rapidly, without counting. 
A motor speech disorder in which there is a difficulty coordinating muscle movement required to produce sounds and coordinate combinations of sounds.
A word placed before a noun to indicate the reference being made by the noun (e.g., the, an, a).
The process of producing speech sounds.
Articulation disorder/impairment
Involves mispronouncing speech sounds by omitting, distorting, substituting, or adding sounds.
Articulation therapy approach
Involves working on one sound at a time.
Artificial neuron
A computational model inspired by natural neurons, which are the cells in the nervous system that process and transmit information by electrochemical signalling. Artificial neurons are organized into networks, much like real neurons. They are used to model or simulate processes conducted by real neurons within the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
Assisted/guided reading
An approach used by teachers to help small groups of students learn to read and understand texts of increasing difficulty by introducing the text, providing support while reading and discussing the text afterwards.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
One of the most commonly diagnosed childhood behaviour disorders, which can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).
Auditory verbal information processing
The brain's ability to understand speech based on the signals sent from the ears.
Authoritative commands
The use of directives by a teacher or caregiver given with the expectation of being obeyed (e.g., sit down!)
A developmental nonprogressive neurological disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.
A physical projection of the neuron (brain cell) that is responsible for carrying signals away from the neuron to other nerves. Essentially, axons are responsible for transmission of information.
Basal ganglia
A brain region located at the base or "basement" of the brain responsible for a variety of functions, including motor control and learning. The basal ganglia are abnormal in a number of important neurologic conditions (e.g., Parkinson disease).
Basal readers
Textbooks designed to teach reading to children. They use vocabularies that become increasingly complex and are often accompanied by workbooks or activities.
Using two dialects of the same language.
Sounds produced using the two lips (e.g., /p/ and /b/).
Having or involving two sides.
A person who speaks two languages with high proficiency.
The ability to speak or write with high proficiency in two languages.
The ability to read or write with high proficiency in two languages.
Brain lesions
An area of the brain that has been damaged by injury or disease.
Canonical babbling
A form of babbling that consists of consonant-vowel combinations and occurs during the first year of life.
Cardinal number knowledge
Knowledge of numbers that can be used to indicate quantity but not order (e.g., 1, 23, 50).
The understanding that the last number uttered when counting a set of objects indicates the quantity of the total set of objects (Baroody, 1992).
A type of phrase that includes a reason or basis for the action or situation in the sentence using a causal connective (e.g., Because, so).
Causal determinates
An influencing or determining element or factor.
Causative pattern
A property of verbs or a set of verb inflections indicating the relation between the subject and the action expressed by the verb, used when we do not carry out an action ourselves, but are responsible for the action being performed. (e.g., He had his eyes checked last week).
A brain region located in the back of the head between the cerebrum and the brain stem. It plays an important role in the integration of sensory perception, coordination and motor control.
Cerebral palsy
A term used to describe a group of non-progressive disorders that affect body movement and muscle coordination.
Child language disorders and delays
Any difficulty with the production or reception of language, regardless of environment.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech
A motor speech disorder in which a child has difficulty coordinating muscle movements required to produce sounds and coordinate combinations of sounds.
Chronological age
A person's age measured from the year, month and day they were born.
A grammatical term for a pair or group of words that include a subject and a verb and form part of a sentence.
Clear tonic accent
A stress or emphasis produced by an increase in pitch.
Cleft palate
A gap or fissure in the roof of the mouth present at birth.
CLOZE procedure
A word is missing from a sentence or pair of sentences and the student must produce the missing word using contextual information.
Cluster reduction
The simplification of consonant clusters (e.g., clown becomes cown).
Using different forms of expression depending on the listener and situation (e.g., talking to a teacher vs. talking to a friend).
Written down as the accepted form for the purpose of establishing a standard correct form.  
Cognate languages
Languages that have a common ancestor (e.g., English and Dutch).  
Cognate pairs
Words that are related in meaning and form to words in another language such as mother (English), moeder (Dutch), moder (Danish), mater (Latin), and matr (Sanskrit). Each of these words is similar because they have come from the same source.
The processing of information within the brain. Includes processes such as awareness, perception, reasoning, memory and judgement.
Of or relating to processes of the brain such as awareness, perception, reasoning, memory and judgement.
Cognitive ability
The ability to process information within the brain.
Cognitive mechanisms
The ways in which the brain moves and processes information.
Cognitive neuroscience
The area of neuroscience (the study of the brain and central nervous system) that focuses on understanding perception, action, attention, memory, and language.
Cognitive processes
The performance of some composite cognitive activity; an operation that affects mental contents; the process of thinking.
Cognitive psychology
A discipline within psychology that investigates the internal mental processes of thought such as visual processing, memory, problem solving, or language.
Cognitive resources
The resources available to draw upon to process information within the brain.
Colloquial (dialect)
A subcategory of a language, often spoken in a specific country or region, which may be considered less formal than the standard form. 
Colloquial citation
In Arabic, the word that adult speakers of Arabic produce if they are asked “How do you say x in your dialect?” For example, if they are asked “How do you say ‘go’ in your dialect?” they will produce ruuħ (for most colloquial Arabic dialects). 
Communicative competence
The ability to use language accurately, effectively and appropriately when communicating with others.
Two or more conditions occurring at the same time.
The grammatical relation of a word or phrase to a predicate (verb).
Compound word
When two separate words are joined together to make a new word (e.g., greenhouse).
Comprehensive standardized assessment
A series of tests that are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner.
Computational ability
The ability to undestand and process numbers within the brain.
Computational procedures
Procedures involving mathematical calculation.
Conceptual development
How children’s understanding of the world develops. For example, children develop a conception of themselves as individuals, of other people as members of their family or people outside their family, of physical laws (if you drop a glass, it breaks), and so on.
Conceptual knowledge
Children's understanding of the underlying structures and relationships of abstract ideas or mental symbols as in mathematics.
Conceptual structure
A structure or model for organizing concepts, abstract ideas or mental symbols as in mathematics.
Occuring at the same time.
Conditional clauses
A grammatical term for a pair or group of words that include a hypothesis or condition (e.g., If you leave the stove on, the food will burn).
Confidence interval (CI)
Used to indicate the probablity that a number will be within an upper and lower limit. It is usually reported as 95% CI, which is the range of values within which we can be 95% sure that the true value for the whole population lies.
Combine into one.
Connect words, phrases and sentences together and show how they are related (e.g., 'and', 'but', 'or').
Consequential validity
The social consequences of using a particular test for a particular purpose; the interpretation of the findings from a particular test may result in specific course of actions that can have social consequences. 
Consonant cluster
A group of consonants which have no intervening vowel and retain their individual sounds (e.g., /sp/ and /rts/ in the word 'sports').
Consonantal inventories
The size of the set of consonant sounds used in a given language (e.g., English has 24 individual consonant sounds in its inventory).
Constrained semantically
Limitations in the selection of words or structures imposed by meaning or context.
Construct validity
The extent to which a test or scale measures the variable or construct that it is supposed to be measuring.
Constructivist theories
In the view of constructivists, the role of teachers is not so much to instruct directly as to provide children with a practical and social context in which they can make their own discoveries (e.g., Cobb, Yackell, & Wood, 1992).
Content analysis
A quantitative method of analyzing written words (e.g., publications, tests, etc.).
Content validity
The extent to which the content of a particular test reflects the knowledge needed for that topic area.  
Corpus callosum
The large band of nerve cells that connects the left and right side of the brain (hemisphere) and allows them to communicate and coordinate activities.
The degree to which one variable is related to another. Used to look for relationships and the strength of the relationship between variables. Does not determine cause or the direction of the relationship.
Correlation coefficient
A statistical measurement that indicates the strength of the relationship between two variables.
Correlational research
When researchers measure two variables, e.g., students' word reading proficiency in L1 and the same students' word reading proficiency in L2, to determine whether one predicts the other.  If a high score on one variable predicts a high score on the second variable, and conversely a low score on one predicts a low score on the other, the two variables are said to be correlated.  It is important to note that correlation does not mean causation; that is, if two variables are correlated, it is incorrect to infer that one causes the other. It is possible that both are the result of a common reading ability that is then reflected in proficient reading in both L1 and L2.  Correlational research can be contrasted with experimental research, which is more suited to establishing cause and effect relationships.
Correlational studies
Scientific studies in which a researcher investigates associations and the strength of relationships between variables. Does not determine cause.
The outer layer of the brain that consists of enfolded layers.
Cortical gray matter
The layer of unmyelinated neurons that form the outer layer of the brain.
Cortical regions
Any of various regions of the cerebral cortex.
Criterion-related evidence
Involves a high correlation between performance on a test and performance on related or relevant criterion not in the test.
Criterion/Criteria referenced
The process of evaluating (and grading) the learning of students against a set of pre-specified criteria.
Cronbach Alpha coefficient
In statistics, a number between 0 and 1 that is an estimate of the internal consistency or reliability of a test.
Cross sectional study
A study that examines a specific variable within a population at a specific point in time.
Cross-linguistic study
A study conducted to examine patterns or outcomes across speakers of different languages.
Declarative knowledge
Factual knowledge or knowledge about something (e.g., a student is able to describe a rule of grammar and apply it in practice drills).
The ability to read unfamiliar words using letter-sound associations and phonics strategies. To be able to translate written words to their oral counterpart. The reader may or may not be able to understand text that is decoded.
A strategy that involves dividing a math problem into several smaller or easier to calculate subproblems to determine the answer.
Decontextualized language
Language used to discuss topics outside of the immediate physical environment.
Deductive reasoning
Working from a general concept or principle to a specific conclusion.
Derivational morphology
Changing the meaning of the word by adding components, such as prefixes and suffixes (e.g., the verb 'swim' with a suffix becomes the noun 'swimmer').
Derivational strategies
A method for making a word or sentence from another word or sentence (e.g., girl from girly).
Descriptive analysis
Type of analysis used for measures that cannot be quantified, such as level of grammar use.
Words which are used in front of nouns to indicate reference to something specific in the context (e.g., 'the', 'an', 'a', 'my', 'this').
Developmental disorders
A general term for any significant handicap with onset before age 18 affecting adaptive, self-help, cognitive and/or social skills and which will continue for the life of the individual.
Developmental Dyscalculia (DD)
A specific learning disability affecting the acquisition of arithmetic skills in an otherwise normal child. Current data indicate that this learning disability is a brain-based disorder with a familial-genetic predisposition.
Developmental language disorder
A condition where a child learns their language more slowly than normal as compared to their peers.
Diagnostic categorization
Using distinguishing features that serve as supporting evidence to make a particular diagnosis.
Diagnostic criteria
Specific criteria established to aid in determining the unequivocal presence of a particular disorder.
Diagnostic evaluation
An investigation undertaken with the purpose of providing a thorough and scientific diagnosis.
Diagnostic measures
The tools used to determine a diagnosis.
A variety of a language that is characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers.
Dialogic reading
A form of book reading between an adult and a child involving a shared discussion.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
A special magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that allows for the visualization of white matter in the brain.
A linguistic situation in which two varieties of the same language have a functional distribution, with the spoken variety used in informal and intimate contexts, and the written variety acquired through literacy and used in written and formal discourse (e.g., Standard German/Swiss German, Standard Arabic/vernacular Arabic, Standard French/Kréyòl in Haiti).
Direct mapping
The mental association formed between verbal and written symbols for numbers.
Direct object
Receives the action performed by the subject of a sentence (e.g., the boy hit the ball).
Oral or written communication such as a conversation or story.
Discourse conventions
The generally accepted norms governing conversation, or connected speech/writing longer than a single sentence.
Discourse patterns
The logical arrangement of ideas in oral or written communication.
Discourse rules
The rules governing conversation, or connected speech/writing longer than a single sentence.
Discursive organization
The organization of thoughts or ideas within discourse.
Distance metric approach
A measure of similarity or dissimilarity that can be used to organize groups according to their degree of relation to one another.
A word with two syllables.
Domain general
Knowledge that is from a broader area.
Domain specific knowledge
Knowledge that is strictly from a certain area or skill.
Situated on both the back and the side.
Double dissociation
The demonstration that two experimental manipulations each have different effects on two dependent variables; if one manipulation affects the first variable and not the second, the other manipulation affects the second variable and not the first. In cognitive neuroscience, double dissociation is an experimental technique by which two areas in the brain are functionally dissociated by two behavioral tests, each test being affected by a lesion in one zone and not the other.
Drill theory
Emphasizes the rote learning of facts (e.g., Thorndike, 1921).
Dynamic assessment
Follows a test-teach-retest format where a baseline score on a particular language skill is established and then a brief period of direct teaching is provided that includes "mediated learning".
An impaired ability to speak, due to nerve or muscle problems.
A learning disability that involves difficulty in learning or comprehending mathematics. 
The inability to read text quickly, accurately, and with proper expression.
An inherited specific learning disability that makes it extremely difficult to read, write, and spell despite at least average intelligence. It is characterized by abilities below the expected level given a child's age, school grade, and intelligence.
Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS)
The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale - Revised (ECERS-R; Harms, Clifford & Cryer, 1998) provides a global measure of preschool classroom quality with 43 items that cover a broad range of quality considerations from safety to teacher-child interaction to parent involvement. See http://ers.fpg.unc.edu/node/82 for more details. 
Effect size
A measure of intervention effectiveness, which can be thought of as the ratio of the change in performance to the underlying variability already seen in the sample. The bigger the effect size, the more effective the intervention. Traditionally, effect sizes of 0.2, 0.5 and 0.8 are considered to have small, moderate and large effects, respectively (Cohen, 1988).
Electropalatography (EPG)
A diagnostic and speech therapy procedure for articulation disorders, which provides visual feedback to children during articulation practice. It involves a computer display of the position and timing of tongue contacts with a custom-made artificial palate into which a row of electrodes is embedded (Gibbon, Stewart, & Hardcastle, 1999).
Emergent literacy
The skills, knowledge and attitudes that precede and help to develop conventional reading and writing.
A consonant that is produced with a secondary articulation in the pharynx (produced using constriction of the pharynx) and a primary articulation further forward in the mouth. It is also referred to as a ‘pharyngealized’ consonant.
Empirical evidence
Evidence that is not dependent on the observer (i.e., is objective), and that appears the same no matter who observes the evidence.
Empirical research
Scientifically based research that applies rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain valid knowledge that can be generalized. This type of research draws on observation or experiement and has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by an independent panel that conducts a comparable, objective scientific review.
Empirical studies
Studies that use working hypotheses that are testable using observation or experiment.
To count or to determine the number or amount. Involves the understanding (a) that anything can be counted, (b) that number words should be uttered in the proper counting sequence, and (c) of the one-to-one principle (Ginsburg, 1989).
Epidemiological studies
Statistical studies on human populations which attempt to link human health effects to a specified cause.
The study of the causes, distribution and control of disorders within a population.
The relational meaning between two equal quantities (Carpenter, Franke, & Levi, 2003).
To approximate the exact value of an operation.
The most common type of connection computers use in a local area network to passively carry data through cables to everywhere throughout the network.
A qualitative research method for gathering objective data that is often done through participant observation, interviews, questionnaires, etc.
Etiological factors
The agent that can be assigned as the cause or reason for a disorder.
The cause or origin of a disorder.
Evidence-based practice
Practice and decision making based on evidence from relevant research study outcomes.  

Evidence-based research
Research undertaken for the purpose of finding evidence to guide clinical decision making.
Executive control/functions
A collection of brain processes responsible for planning, cognitive flexibility, abstract thinking, initiation of appropriate actions and inhibition of inappropriate actions.
Existential sentence
A sentence that is started by "there" and asserts the existance or nonexistance of something.
In language development, when an adult expands on a child’s statement by adding details and grammatical information. This additional information can help with a child’s grammatical development (e.g., Child says, “Kitty house” and adult responds with, “The kitty is in the house.”). Expansions are similar to recasts.
Experimental studies
Studies that consist of randomized control trials or single subject designs.
When something is stated directly and clearly.
Expressive language disorder
A difficulty in an individual’s ability to produce written or spoken language.
Expressive language/language production
The ability to produce language in any of a number of different modalities such as speech, sign or writing.
Expressive vocabulary
All the words that one can produce and use for speaking or writing.
During language development, when an adult comments on what a child has said with additional information. This type of commenting may help to increase a child’s sentence length (e.g., Child says, “Kitty house” and adult responds with, “Yes, the kitty went inside because he was cold.”)
External scaffolding
An instructional strategy by which adults or more able peers provide supportive structures to help children learn.
Externalizing behaviour
A group of conditions characterized by one or more of the following: aggression, attention problems, delinquency, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and conduct problems.
Factual knowledge
Children's basic knowledge of number facts (e.g., 4 x 3 = ?), which should be stored in long-term memory and be automatically accessed when a problem is presented (Bisanz & LeFevre, 1990).
Figurative languages
Consists of "figures of speech" such as idioms, similes, and metaphors, which are all a way of saying something other than the literal meaning of the words.
Fine-motor skills
Movements that require a high degree of control and precision. These may include drawing shapes, writing, cutting with a scissors, using eating utensils.
First person singular
A grammatical term that is illustrated by using the pronoun "I".
The ability to read text quickly, accurately, and with proper expression.
Fluency disorder
A condition where the speaker produces speech that does not flow as smoothly as normal speech.
Formal schooling
A form of structured, classroom-based education that follows a curriculum and directs learning.
Formative assessment
A type of informal assessment used to adjust instruction and materials to the student’s learning. It includes teacher feedback as part of the process and is used to promote student attainment.
Consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators such as the teeth or lips close together (e.g., blowing sounds /f, s/).
Functional and structural neuroimaging methods
Noninvasive tools used to observe function and structures in the brain.
Functional brain imaging
A noninvasive tool used to observe functioning in the brain.
Functional load
The amount of work a phoneme does to distinguish one utterance (usually a word) from another.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
A type of specialized MRI scan. A noninvasive tool used to observe functioning in the brain or other organs by determining which part of the brain and spinal cord is active during a given task by tracking blood oxygen levels in the brain.
Functional neuroanatomy
The field that concerns itself with linking function with brain structure.
Fundamental skill
A skill that is basic, necessary or important.
Fusiform gyrus
A fold or "bump" in the brain involved in processing of colour information, face and body recognition, and word representation.
Gender marking of nouns
If a language distinguishes between masculine and feminine gender, for instance, then each noun belongs to one of those two genders. Arabic has gender marking, while English does not.
Gender terms
Terms that are gender specific, such as "he" for a man or "she" for a woman.
How well gains made during intervention transfer to other situations.
A type of sound in which the tongue and lips move during the production of the sound (e.g., /w/).
Glottal replacement
The production of a glottal stop instead of another consonant.
Glottal stop
A sound produced by momentarily closing the vocal cords (or glottis) (e.g., in English, the sound represented by the hyphen in 'uh-oh').
Grammatical ability
The ability to understand and produce proper sentence structures.
Grammatical inflections
A system of showing meaning by changing word endings, as in the English '-ed' inflection meaning past tense.
Grammatical knowledge
An individual's knowledge about how sentences in a language are constructed.
All of the letters and letter combinations representing a single phoneme.
Graphic organizers
Visual representations of ideas and concepts.
Graphophonic patterns
Refers to the corresponding sound relationships between the graphic representation (written word) and phonology (sounds that make up that word).
Gray matter
Located in the cortex on the outer part of the brain; one of the two major tissue components of the brain which contains the cell bodies and dendrites of the neurons that process and transmit information.
Health literacy
The ability to access, understand, evaluate and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across the life-course (Rootman & Gordon-El-Bihbety, 2008).
Hearing acuity fluctuations
Any persistent and unpredictable changes in hearing ability.
Either of the two symmetrical halves of the brain. Each hemisphere is responsible for different body functions and skills.
Hereditary disorder
Disorder of genetic origin, inherited from one’s parents.
The passing of a disorder from one generation to the next.
Heritage languages
Languages other than a country’s official language.
A group composed of those who have differing characteristics or are of differing abilities in terms of performance.
High quality intervention studies
Studies that include standardized or criterion-based testing before and after the intervention, an adequate control group, random assignment of participants to intervention group, and a sufficient number of participants.
Higher-order cognition
Processes such as reasoning and problem solving.
An area in the brain that helps regulate emotion and memory.
Home programming
Materials, activities and suggestions provided by a professional such as a Speech-Language Pathologist to be worked on at home for a specified period of time instead of treatment.
Homogenous groupings
A group composed of those who are all the same or of similar abilities in terms of performance.
A word that is pronounced the same as another word but is spelled differently and has a different meaning (e.g., your, you're).
A resonance disorder characterized by production of more nasal airflow than normal during speech.
Hypothesis testing
A strategy used by readers when they combine both relevant information from the text and their background knowledge in order to make progress in their reading. Readers form a tentative hypothesis (interpretation) about what they are reading and then as they read on, they confirm, disconfirm, or revise their interpretation to fit the newly available information.
Iambic rhythm
The particular rhythm that the words establish in a line of verse through the alternation of short and long syllables or stressed and unstressed syllables (e.g., French has an iambic rhythm characterized by slight emphasis at the end of the word).
A graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept.
Imperfect verb stem
In colloquial Arabic, the verb in a form that is unmarked for tense, aspect, person, gender, or number. In colloquial Arabic, a verb is marked for tense, aspect, person, gender, or number by the addition of some prefix(es) or suffix(es) (e.g., the word that means ‘he is going’ is typicallyj-i- ruuħor b-i-ruuħ, where ruuħis the imperfect verb stem).  
Imperfective markings
Grammatical markings used to indicate the imperfect tense, referring to a description of an action that is in progress, ongoing, habitual or repeated, without regard to its completion (e.g., I was eating...).
When a concept/idea is not stated directly but is instead implied through the context.
Implicit memory
A type of memory in which previous experiences aid in the performance of a task without conscious awareness of these previous experiences.
Implicit understanding
Understood though not directly expressed.
Implosive airstream
In-breath during the production of consonants or vowels. 
Incidental learning theory
Children were expected to learn through exploration and satisfaction of their curiosity, rather than direct instruction (e.g., McLellan & Dewey, 1895).
The new interpretations made by readers when they combine relevant information from a text with relevant information from their background knowledge to form a critically important interpretation that is not stated in the text.
Inferior frontal gyrus (Broca's area)
An area in the brain, usually in the left hemisphere, that is responsible for the organization of motor speech patterns or language output.
Inferior parietal cortex
A part of the parietal lobe of the brain which integrates information from different sensory modalities and plays an important role in a variety of higher cognitive functions.
A type of phrase that will begin with an infinitive (to + simple form of the verb) and will include objects and/or modifiers (e.g., to eat the bread).
Inflectional endings
Suffixes that are added at the ends of root words (e.g., -s, -ed, -ing).
Inflectional morphology
To apply an inflection is to change the form of a word so as to give it extra meaning. Inflectional morphology manifests primarily in the form of a prefix, suffix, or vowel change (e.g., adding -s, -ed, -ing, or changing 'throw' to 'threw').
Initial and final syllable position
The placement of a sound in a word either at the beginning or the end (e.g., the 'b' sound can come at the beginning of a word, as in 'bad', or at the end of a word, as in 'tub').
Anything that is inherited or natural and existing at birth rather than acquired.
A structure located deep within the brain whose functions include perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience.
A measure of the understandability of speech.
Intentional communication
Early nonverbal communication from young children (8-12 months of age) showing intent. The child expects a specific response to occur as a result of the interaction (e.g., pointing to an object to get a caregiver to reach it for him/her).
A field of study that crosses traditional boundaries in the goals of connecting and integrating several academic schools of thought, professions, or technologies, along with their specific perspectives, in the pursuit of a common task.
Mutually dependent.
Internal consistency
The extent to which all items on a scale or test measure the same concept, skill or quality.
Variation of pitch in a connected speech, which distinguishes kinds of sentences or speakers of different language cultures (e.g., English has different intonation patterns for questions, statements, surprise, teasing, etc.).
Intransitive verb/verb construction
A verb (or verb construction) that does not take an object (e.g., in English the verb 'disagree' – Sarah disagreed).
Intraparietal sulcus (IPS)
A groove or depression on the brain surface separating two ridges of the parietal lobe. Its principal functions are related to perceptual-motor coordination (for directing eye movements and reaching) and visual attention.
A verbal production controlled by other verbal behaviour. Normal conversational interaction is comprised mainly of intraverbal behaviours, such as trivial social interchanges (e.g., “you too” when told “Have a nice day!”), word associations, translations, answering questions, filling in blanks, etc.
Ionizing radiation
High-energy radiation capable of producing ionization in substances through which it passes.
Stands for Intelligence Quotient, a measure of intelligence.
Shorthand for referring to someone's first or native language. Generally used in contrast to L2, the second language or the language a person is learning.
 See L1.
Language typology
The specific characteristics associated with each language family.
Lateral extrastriate region
A region of the brain which sits next to the primary visual cortex; thought to be involved in response to visual stimuli.
Production of a sound with inappropriate airflow down the side or sides of the tongue. 
Learned repetitive phrases
Frequently-occurring phrases, often expressions, which the child has learned but can use inappropriately.
Left hemisphere
The left symmetrical half of the cerebrum, as divided by the longitudinal cerebral fissure. It is involved in such functions as language, math and logic.
Left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG)
A fold or ridge on the surface of the brain that plays a key role in reading and visual word recognition.
Left inferior temporal area
A region of the brain thought to be involved in high-level auditory processing.
Left parietal temporal area
A region encompassing part of two of the four lobes of the brain which plays a role in spatial processing and verbal memory.
Left temporal cortex
A region in the brain associated with verbal memory.
Left-to-right algorithmic approach
A defined series of steps to accomplish a result; a predetermined method of moving from left to right to complete mathematical operations.
An area that has been damaged by injury or disease.
Lesion studies
Studies of particular areas that have been damaged by injury and disease.
Of or relating to words or the vocabulary of a language as distinguished from its grammar and construction.
Lexical compounding
The process of combining words to create a new phrase (i.e., ice cream).
Lexical development
The development of vocabulary.
Lexical goals
The targets for vocabulary development.
Lexical tone
The distinctive pitch level carried by the syllable of a word which is an essential feature of the meaning of that word. Present in Chinese but not in English.
Converting to a single lexical unit, as a group of words with meaning beyond their parts.
Limbic system
A set of brain structures including the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior thalamic nuclei, and limbic cortex, which support a variety of functions including emotion, behaviour, long-term memory, and olfaction.
Relating to the nature, structure, and variation of language.
Linguistic awareness
Awareness of the nature, structure, and variation of language.
Linguistic imperialism
The imposition of a dominant language on a people.
Linguistic interference
When second language learners apply knowledge from their first language to their second language.
Linguistic knowledge
Knowledge of the nature, structure, and variation of language.
Linguistic system
A language-based system of communication.
Linguistic theory
Theory regarding the structure and meaning of language.
A linguistic category for a type of consonants that includes the sounds produced in English by the letters [l] and [r] (e.g., in words such as 'led' and 'red').
In the narrower sense, literacy includes the reading, writing, and numeracy skills that people need to have to cope with everyday tasks. In the broader sense, it encompasses multiple literacies (computer, environmental, visual, media, economic, and scientific literacy) needed to succeed in a knowledge economy.
Literature review
An article that reviews several studies, and can be used to describe and compare different types of interventions. However, this approach is limited by differences between studies (e.g., measures, group sizes, subject age, length/intensity of intervention).
The four divisions of the brain (frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal).
Locative preposition
Preposition denoting location (i.e., 'in', 'on', 'near', etc.).
Logarithmic pattern
Pattern in which for every increase of 1 there is an increase in real terms by a factor of 10.
Logographic system
A system in which symbols (characters) primarily represent morphemes or whole words rather than consonants or vowels (e.g., Chinese uses a logographic orthography wherein characters represent syllables and morphemes rather than phonemes, as in alphabetic languages. Thus, the letter-sound correspondence that exists in alphabetic languages such as English does not apply to Chinese).
Long-term memory
A system for permanently storing, managing, and retrieving information for later use.
A type of research conducted over a period of time following the same individuals; allows researchers to determine the effect of something or the outcome over a period of months to many years.
Longitudinal intervention studies
Studies that observe outcomes of an intervention over long periods of time.
Longitudinal relations
The relationships between components of a study over a period of time.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A non-invasive imaging method using magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of the inside of the body.
In mathematics, involves the ability to compare small and large sets of objects and identify which set is larger or smaller (Baroody, 1992).
Main verb
A word used to express actions, events or states of being (e.g., runs, eats) and the most important verb in the sentence.
A verbal production, including requests for an item or information, through which the speaker can get their wants and needs met by listeners. 
In grammar, a morpheme, or unit of meaning in a word, that indicates some grammatical function such as number (e.g., in 'cats' the morpheme '-s' is a plural marker).
Marker (genetics)
An indicator or characteristic trait of a disorder that facilitates differential diagnosis (the process of distinguishing one disorder from other, similar disorders).
Mathematic learning disabilities
Affects the learner's ability to perform basic mathematical operations. People with mathematic learning disabilities do not understand the relationship between numbers and the quantities they represent. They do not understand math concepts and real-world math applications such as in telling time.
Mathematical competence
The ability to perform and understand numerical operations with an adequate degree of success.
Mathematical equivalence
The understanding that both sides of an equation with an equal sign in it are equivalent (Perry, Church, & Goldin-Meadow, 1988).
The average of a set of values.
Mean Length of Utterance (MLU)
Average length of oral expressions as measured by a representative sampling of oral language; usually obtained by counting the number of morphemes per utterance and dividing by the number of utterances (Nicolosi, Harryman, & Kresheck, 2004). 
Meaning theory
A learning theory that makes numbers sensible by emphasizing relationships within the subject studied to promote meaningful memorization of skills (e.g., Brownell, 1938).
Mediated learning
Also known as guided learning; the student is able to explore and discover concepts independently with the help of an environment constructed by a professional.
Memory coding
Refers to the brain's ability to store and retain information.
Mental number line
A mental picture of a horizontal line on which numbers are represented in order from left to right.
A study that statistically analyzes data by pooling results from a number of studies that have used similar methods to investigate similar topics; the data is re-analyzed as a whole and used to make stronger conclusions based on the results.
Meta-analytic methods
A means of statistically analyzing data by pooling results from a number of studies that have used similar methods, re-analyzing the data as a whole, and making stronger conclusions based on these results.
Pertaining to the awareness and understanding of how one thinks and uses strategies during reading and writing.
Metacognitive abilities
The knowledge of how, when, and why to use specific strategies or resources.
Metacognitive strategies
Learning strategies that involve planning and directing learning at a general level.
The ability to think about and reflect on the structure of language.
Metaphonological assessment
The evaluation of ability to detect sound structures of words independent of their meaning.
The rearranging of sounds in a word, usually refers to two adjacent sounds (e.g., producing 'spaghetti' as 'pasketti').
Methodological approach
The process by which a study is undertaken, subjects are examined, and results are analysed and compiled.
Mid and back high and low vowels
The articulatory features that distinguish vowel sounds (e.g., height, backness, lip rounding).
Middle frontal regions
An area at the front of the brain, located in the frontal lobe; thought to be responsible for speech production.
Middle voice patterns
In some languages, occurs as another category between the active and passive voice.
Minimal pair
Two words in a language that only differ by one sound (e.g., 'pad' and 'bad').
Minimal pair activities
Activities that help the child discover the difference between and communicative function of different speech sounds.
A learning technique that aids memory; one can use mnemonic rhymes, phrases and illustrations to help remember various facts and numbers.
Modal auxiliary
A type of verb used to express tense and mood (e.g., 'may', 'can', 'shall', 'will', 'must').
A certain type of information and/or the representation or format in which the information is stored.
See modal auxiliary.
A person who speaks only one language.
Having only one syllable.
Monozygotic twins
Twins that developed from the same egg (ovum), and are thus identical and have the same genotype.
A type of language rhythm in which each mora (phonological unit determining syllable weight) is equal. Japanese is a mora-timed language.
The smallest meaningful linguistic units within a word (e.g., the word 'preheated' has three morphemes: 'pre-' 'heat' and '-ed').
Of or pertaining to the identification, analysis and description of the structure of words.
Morphological awareness
The ability to break words into their individual morphemes (smallest meaningful units) and derive meaning from them (e.g., ‘projects’ breaks into ‘project’ and the plural –s, meaning there is more than one project).
Morphological constraints
Parameters pertaining to the identification, analysis and description of the structure of words.
Morphological structure
Pertaining to the smallest meaningful units of a language (morphemes) and their possible combinations in a language.
In grammar, the identification, analysis and description of the structure of words; the patterns of how words are formed from prefixes, roots and suffixes and how words are related to each other.
Morphology (of the brain)
Refers to form, structure and configuration of the outward appearance as well as the form and structure of the internal parts like bones and organs.
Pertaining to the phonological structure of morphemes.
A writing system where some characters represent sounds and other characters represent meaning, or an entire word.
The language structure and organization of words in phrases and sentences that influence morphological forms in speech. For example, “The wind is strong and cold” and “Did you wind the clock?”
Morphosyntactic phenotype
The observable characteristics of DNA as they relate to morphosyntactic development, meaning the child's acquisition of morphology and syntax and observable application of these rules.
The rules governing the inflectional derivations of words (e.g., 'visit', 'visited', 'visiting', 'visits', etc).
Motor planning
The ability to plan and execute physical tasks.
Being exposed to multiple different dialects of the same language.
Having or involving several dimensions or aspects.
Having or involving more than one variable at the same time.
A story about fictional or real events, which follows a basic standard format. Narratives include a plot, setting, characters, structure (introduction, complication, resolution) and theme.
Narrative abilities
The ability to tell a story about fictional or real events while following a basic standard format.
Narrative discourse
A specific structure of language used to talk about fictional or real events.
Narrative discourse structure
Language structure used to describe a series of fictional or non-fictional events.
Narrative structure
The structural framework underlying a story (e.g., introduction, middle, end).
Sounds that are created when the oral cavity is closed, causing the air flow to move through the nose (e.g., /m, n/).
The process of changing the meaning of a word or phrase to its negative counterpart (e.g., 'I am tall' vs. 'I am not tall').
Neural bases
Of or originating from the brain or brain structures.
Neural circuit
The connection of neurons within the brain; the pathway used to achieve a specific goal.
Neural network
Composed of a group of neurons (the cells in the nervous system that process and transmit information by electrochemical signalling) that work together to perform a specific function within the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
Neural signature
A specific pattern of brain function or dysfunction as indicative of a particular disorder.
Neural system
A set of specialized cells that serve a specific function (e.g., visual system).
Of or pertaining to neuroanatomy, the study of the anatomical organization of the brain.
Of or pertaining to neurobiology, the biological study of nerve and brain function.
A term used to describe cognitive functions closely linked to the function of particular areas, neural pathways, or cortical networks in the brain.
Of or pertaining to the development of neurological pathways in the brain.
Neurodevelopmental/neuromaturational delay
A disruption or delay in early brain development.
Pertaining to brain function.
Neurogenic communication disorders
Problems with communication due an impaired nervous system, affecting hearing, speech, or language ability.
Includes the use of various techniques to either directly or indirectly image the structure, function/pharmacology of the brain. It is a relatively new discipline within medicine and neuroscience/psychology.
Neuroimaging studies
Studies concerned with producing images of the brain by noninvasive techniques and which map the structure or function of the brain by using technologies such as CT, CAT, PET, SPECT, MRI, and FMRI.
Having to do with the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
Neurological connections
Having to do with the connections within the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
Neurological impairment
Any disorder that primarily relates to the central nervous system comprised of the brain and spinal cord.
Neuronal circuit
A functional entity of interconnected neurons that influence each other.
An excitable cell in the nervous system that processes and transmits information by electrochemical signalling. Neurons are the core components of the brain, the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves.
Of or pertaining to neuropsychology, the basic scientific discipline that studies the structure and function of the brain related to specific psychological processes and overt behaviors.
The study of the brain and central nervous system, particularly their physical and biological attributes and their control of movement, behavior, and learning.
Nominal sentence
A sentence with either a subject and a complement, but no linking verb (e.g., 'Fascinating, this topic.') or only a subject and a complement (e.g., 'Mr. Smith is a teacher.').
Non-symbolic arithmetic/numerical skills
The ability to perform numerical operations without apparent use of number words or symbols.
Non-symbolic skills
Skills that do not rely on use of verbal or written representation.
Made up words (e.g., slintif).
Norm-referenced test
A test that ranks an individual within a group of predetermined individuals who have also been measured for the same trait.
Normal distribution
The distribution of a large set of test scores where most scores will be in the average range.
Normative data
Refers to the average or normal values across various levels of performance within a population.
Normative framework
Relating to a structural model which describes a socially accepted ideal; used to describe an idealized goal to be achieved.
Normative skills
Skills in which an individual is compared to an average score that is typically expected for their age category.
A word used to name a person, place, thing or abstract idea (e.g., singer, library, ball, comfort).
The four types of molecules that make up the specific structure of a given gene (DNA or RNA).
Number line estimation
An educated guess of the placement of a number on an image with a horizontal line, on which each point represents a real number.
Number sense
The understanding of number and operations, the ability to use this understanding to learn and develop strategies for handling numbers and operations, and the ability to use numbers as a way of communicating and dealing with information.
Number symbols
A collection of symbols used to communicate a numerical value.
 A term introduced by UK educational policymakers in the 1950s; it includes number, arithmetic, procedures, problem solving, and measurement.
Numerical cognition
A subdiscipline of cognitive science that studies the cognitive, developmental and neural bases of numbers and mathematics.
Numerical operations
Mathematical processes involving growth or depletion of the total value (i.e., addition, subtraction, multiplication, division).
Object clitic
A direct object or indirect object which is not an independent word. In Arabic, they are suffixes which are added to a verb, pronoun, or preposition.
Occipital lobe
The smallest of the four lobes of the human brain; responsible for visual processing.
Occipito-temporal areas
Of, relating to, or distributed to the occipital and temporal lobes of the brain. See occipital lobe. See temporal lobe.
One-to-one correspondence
In mathematics, each item in a set is counted once and the final number is the number of items in the set.
Onset-rime awareness
In a syllable, the onset is the initial consonant or consonants, and the rime is the vowel and any consonants that follow it (e.g., in the word 'sat', the onset is 's' and the rime is 'at'; in the word 'flip', the onset is 'fl' and the rime is 'ip').
Open-ended question/statement
A question or statement designed to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the subject's own knowledge and/or feelings (e.g., Tell me about your favourite movie).
Oral language skills
Refers to fluency in speaking and listening. Includes vocabulary, grammatical knowledge and narrative discourse skills.
Oral mechanism evaluation/screening
An examination of the mouth and surrounding structures by a speech-language pathologist or related professional, such as a dentist or doctor; focuses specifically on anatomically correct structure and function within normal range.
Oral motor exercises
Exercises used to overcome muscle weakness or difficulty using articulators. These exercises are recommended by a speech-language pathologist or related professional.
Oral motor skills
Refers to the movement of the lips, cheeks, tongue, jaw, muscles of the mouth and the coordination of these movements.
Orbitofrontal cortex
The region of the frontal lobe of the brain that is involved in decision making and other cognitive processes; also has a role in emotion.
Order irrelevance
The concept that stopping and starting points are irrelevant to counting accuracy; the order in which the items are counted - left to right, right to left, or starting in the middle- does not matter.
A scale using numbers or symbols to rank order; its intervals are unspecified (e.g., first, second, third).
The visual representation of the order and use of symbols and letters in a written language; the spelling of a language.
Orthographic knowledge
The knowledge that sounds within a language are represented by specific letters or symbols.
Orthographic processing
The ability to form, store and access orthographic representations (i.e., spelling of words) (Stanovich & West, 1989).
Orthographic skill
See orthographic processing.
Orthographic unit
The symbol used for a single written word.
A system for representing the sounds of language by written symbols. This involves correct spelling patterns and rules.
A medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose and throat disorders.
Paired reading
Involves students reading aloud with a partner, taking turns to provide word identification help and feedback. Pairing may be determined by reading abilities (e.g., students with stronger reading skills may be paired with those who have weaker reading skills).
Parietal cortex
Area within the parietal lobe in the brain.
Parietal lobe
The lobe in the brain responsible for determining spatial sense and navigation. Also responsible for visual perception.
Parieto-temporal region
The region in the brain where the parietal and temporal lobes meet.
A word or a part of a word which has a grammatical purpose but often has little or no meaning (e.g., I got up early this morning; the adverb 'up' is a particle).
Passive voice
A verb tense in which the subject undergoes the action (i.e., The dog was walked by myself). By contrast, in the active voice, the agent undergoes the action (i.e., I walked the dog).
Past tense
A verb tense referring to an activity which has previously occurred (e.g., 'watched', 'danced', 'ate', 'slept').
The principles and methods of instruction.
The ability to be perceived; see perception.
The process of acquiring, interpreting and organizing all forms of sensory information.
Perceptual estimates
An approximation or judgement of what is perceived.
Perfective markings
Grammatical markings used to denote the perfect tense, referring to a description of actions that have been or will be completed in relation to a previously specified event (e.g., in 'I have watched this movie several times' the italicized items are perfective markings).
Performance norms
An expected pattern of performance as determined by a larger group of studied subjects.
In genetics, the observable, measurable characteristic related to individual variations in DNA.
The smallest unit of sound within our language system. A single phoneme has the ability to change the meanings of a word (e.g., changing the first phoneme "bit" from /b/ to /s/ makes it "sit."). English has approximately 41-44 phonemes. Words can be composed of a single phoneme (e.g., "a" or "oh") or multiple phonemes.
Phoneme acquisition
The process of acquiring phonemes within a language system.
Phoneme discrimination
The ability to hear all the different sounds of speech.
Phoneme-grapheme correspondence
Correspondence between the set of sounds (phonemes) and the set of elements of writing (graphemes) in a language.
Phonemic awareness
Involves the ability to identify and manipulate the individual sounds in words (e.g., cat = k-a-t).
Phonemic element
A specific aspect of a phoneme.
Phonetic coding system
A cognitive procedure used to identify groupings of sounds (phonemes) that, when arranged in a particular order, are spoken in a particular way. Phonetic coding systems are used to improve word decoding ability.
Phonetic components
The individual speech sounds in words (e.g., ‘cat’ is made up of the sounds k-a-t).
Phonetic inventories
The collections of phonemes that exist in a given language.
Phonetic placement
The use of mirrors, imitative models, verbal instructions, and tools such as tongue depressors and straws to help children achieve correct placement of the articulators for production of speech sounds.
The study and classification of speech sounds, including their production, transmission and perception.
A form of instruction that teaches students to understand and use the alphabetic principle. Students learn the relationships between phonemes (the sounds in spoken language) and graphemes (the letters that represent those sounds in written language) and use this information to read and decode words.
Phonics knowledge
Helps children identify the relationship between sounds and letters and to use this information to support their spelling and reading.
Of or relating to phonology; see phonology.
Phonological acquisition
The process by which speech sound forms of a language are acquired.
Phonological approach
Provides a systematic way of teaching the sounds of the language quickly and efficiently. It helps address the child's phonological system by focusing on patterns of pronunciation errors (e.g., the SLP could begin by teaching the child to put the ending sounds on words, working on words like 'beet', 'peep', and 'puff' all at the same time).
Phonological awareness
An "umbrella" term that is used to refer to the understanding or insight into different sound structures in a language. This term encompasses awareness of individual sounds in words (phonemic awareness) as well as of individual words in sentences, syllables and onset-rime segments.
Phonological coding
The ability to produce, differentiate and manipulate the sounds of a language separate from meaning.
Phonological decoding
The process by which a word's graphical representation is converted into spoken sounds; often referred to as "sounding out" a word.
Phonological deviations
Errors in phonological processes.
Phonological disorder
The inability to pronounce, produce or accurately combine sounds.
Phonological element
The specific aspect of a language which exists beyond the specific sounds (i.e., beyond their phonemic composition). For example, syllable, intonation, stress.
Phonological features
The properties of individual linguistic units, such as place of production, manner of production, and existence of voicing properties in the sound's production.
Phonological impairment
The inability or diminished ability to pronounce, produce or accurately combine sounds.
Phonological learning
The acquisition of the accurate pronunciation, production or combination of sounds.
Phonological pattern
Naturally recurring combinations of sounds in speech.
Phonological processing
An individual’s ability to identify and manipulate the sounds in a language.
Phonological sensitivity
Sensitivity to and awareness of sounds in words.
Phonological short-term memory phenotype
The observable characteristics of DNA as they relate to phonological short-term memory, meaning the child's ability to remember speech sounds in the sequence they were heard over a short period of time.
Phonological skill
Associated with the appropriate development of phonological knowledge and learning; for example, substitution, rhyming or blending of sounds.
Phonological structure
The constituent sounds of words including syllables, onset-rimes, and phonemes within a language.
Phonological system
The combination of sounds and their appropriate production, pronunciation and articulation.
Phonological working memory
The sound or verbal/visual language memory system used for holding and manipulating information while various mental tasks are carried out.
The study of the sound system used in language and its rules for combining sounds and patterns of stress and intonation.
Phonotactic constraints
Rules in a particular language governing what sounds can be combined in a word.
Physiological (factors)
Factors pertaining to the biological function of living organisms.
The most commonly used method of depicting Standard Mandarin in its phonetic forms.
Place value
The value of a digit as determined by its position in a number (e.g., in the number "11" the one is worth either 10 or 1, depending on the position).
An inactive substance or preparation used as a control in an experiment or test to determine the effectiveness of a medicinal drug.
Refers to the ability of the brain to adapt to new conditions; for example, if one area of the brain becomes nonfunctional, another area may take over its responsibilities to some extent.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Technology involved in the creation of three dimensional images of the selected body part. Both clinical and research uses, often in the fields of neurology and oncology.
Verb structures that imply ownership over another object (e.g., 'my - mine', 'your - yours', etc).
Posterior middle temporal gyrus
A ridge in the temporal lobe; exact function unknown, but suspected to be involved in determining word meaning while reading.
Power features
Objects that are considered to have "power" are grammatically animate (e.g., Ojibway).
The rules or conventions governing the use of oral language within a social or situational context.
A structure in the brain positioned above the cuneus and located in the parietal lobe. It is believed that it contains a sensory-based map of one's own body.
One of the two main parts of a sentence; it provides information about the subject and must contain a verb (e.g., Judy ran the New York marathon – the part of the sentence in italics is a predicate).
Predictive validity
The extent to which a score on a scale or test predicts future performance.
Prefrontal cortex
A region located at the front of the brain that has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, decision making and moderating correct social behavior.
Prefrontal gyrus
A ridge in the frontal lobe which contains the primary motor cortex.
Preintentional communication
Early communication interactions between young infants (1 to 8 months of age) and caregivers with no intent. The child does not expect a specific outcome to occur as a result of the communication interaction (e.g., vocalizations).
Prelinguistic stage
The time period before a child speaks their first meaningful word.
In grammar, of adjectives; placed before a noun (e.g., 'blue' is an attributive adjective in 'a blue sweater').
A linking word in a sentence (e.g., 'on', 'beside', 'during').
Prepositional phrase
A string of words comprised of a preposition describing a spatial or temporal relationship, and its associated object. The phrase "under the table" is a prepositional phrase.
Pressure consonant
A consonant that is produced with a lot of obstruction of airflow in the mouth (e.g., ‘p’ and ‘b’).
Presymbolic communication
Early communication behaviours (e.g., body movements) used by infants before formal symbols (e.g., speech, sign language). These behaviours can be used in preintentional communication (e.g., general body movements) and intentional communication (e.g., pointing).
Primary and secondary motor area
A region of the brain responsible for generating the neural impulses controlling execution of movement.
Print knowledge
A precursor to early literacy referring to an understanding that individual letter combinations carry meaning as words, that lines on the page are linked to words that are spoken while reading, as well as a familiarity with reading conventions such as identifying the front of a book.
Procedural knowledge
Strategic knowledge or knowledge of how to do something (e.g., a student applies a rule of grammar in communication).
A non-accentuated particle that makes a phonetic whole with the word that comes after it (e.g., the English article 'the,' when unstressed and with a reduced vowel, is a proclitic, as in the following: 'the clock').
The course and outcome of a disorder.
Prognostic indicators
Factors that may indicate the presence, or likelihood, of a disorder.
A grammatical form used to act as a substitute for a noun, such as 'I', 'you', 'he', 'she', 'its', 'we', and 'they'.
Propositional meaning
A phrase which can be true or false, but makes some statement about the world.
The rhythm, stress and intonation of speech. Prosodic patterns can be specific to a language.
Non-words which when pronounced, sounds like a real, familiar word. For example, the pseudohomophone BRANE sounds like the real word BRAIN.
Unit of speech or text that appears like it could be an actual word in a certain language while in fact it is not.
An area of study which draws from linguistics and psychology and focuses upon the comprehension and production of language.
Psychometric models
Models used in educational and psychological testing to measure knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality – usually based on average or typical performance.
Psychometrically sound
The quality of a test, based on its consistency, reliability and validity.   
Psychosocial development
The psychological development of an individual in relation to his or her social environment.
Psychosocial status
The psychological status of an individual in relation to his or her social environment.
Publication bias
Occurs when positive results are more likely to be published than negative or inconclusive results.
Descriptions or distinctions based on some quality or characteristic rather than on some quantity or measured value.
Qualitative information
Nonnumeric information such as conversation which is difficult to measure, count, or express in numerical terms.
A measurable property.
Quantitative models
Models based on numerical data used to predict and measure relationships in scientific research.
A research study that resembles a true experiment but lacks random assignment to treatment and control groups.
A component of a Chinese character under which it is catalogued in a dictionary. The list of Chinese radicals is a rough equivalent of a Chinese "alphabet". All Chinese characters can be classified into radicals.
Randomized Control Trial (RCT)
A study in which people are allocated at random (by chance alone) to receive one of several interventions. One of those interventions is the standard for comparison, or control, giving researchers a reference point for the efficacy of the specific intervention being evaluated. The control can be a placebo or no intervention at all. RCTs seek to measure and compare the outcomes after the participants receive the interventions.
Rapid automatized naming (RAN)
A measure of cognitive processing, measured by the rate of naming colours, digits, objects or letters. This measure is a predictor for fluency of reading.
Reading comprehension
The ability to understand written text by means of decoding words to determine meaning.
Reading fluency
The ability to decode text accurately and quickly.
Receptive language
An individual’s ability to understand written or spoken language.
Receptive language disorder
A difficulty in an individual’s ability to understand written or spoken language.
Receptive vocabulary
The stock of words that an individual can understand.
Reciprocal pattern
A linguistic structure used in some languages to establish a link between two noun phrases. English does not have a reciprocal voice pattern and instead uses the term "each other" to indicate reciprocity between noun phrases.
Regular letter-sound correspondence
When the letter or symbol is always pronounced in the same way (English does not have a regular letter-sound correspondence).
Relative clause
A clause used to provide additional information about something without starting another sentence. The text becomes more fluent and less redundant when sentences are combined with a relative clause (e.g., John is in the same class with the girl whose mother is a local celebrity).
The consistency of a set of measurements or of a measuring instrument. A way that researchers ensure the methodology used in a study was done properly, which gives confidence about the conclusions drawn from the study.
Resonance disorder
A condition where the sound produced during speech vibrates abnormally in the cavities of the vocal tract.
In a statistical study, subjects used to obtain results.
Retrieval network
Used to recall information from memory.
Retrospective study
A study that looks back in time to examine why a specific outcome occurred.
Collection of reflected sounds from the surfaces in an enclosure like a classroom. It is created when a sound is produced in an enclosed space, setting off a large number of echoes, which then slowly disappear as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air.
Reversible passives with animate agent and patient
A passive construction in which the subject can be exchanged with the agent in the by-phrase and still leave a correct logical sentence, albeit with the opposite meaning (e.g., the boy was seen by the girl).
Right inferior frontal orbital
The lower region of the right frontal lobe, above the orbit of the eye; specializes in higher cognitive function.
Right inferior temporal
The lower region of the right temporal lobe; involved in auditory processing.
In linguistics, a part of the syllable that usually starts from the first vowel and continues to the end of the syllable.  
Dependability of a system, product, or process to continue operating well even though conditions are constantly changing.
Root word
A morpheme, often of Latin origin, that may or may not be able to stand alone; it is used to form a family of words with related meanings (e.g., "view" is a root word for preview, review and viewable).
The process of learning or memorizing without fully understanding a subject. The major practice involved in rote learning is repetition.
Round robin reading
A reading strategy in which students are asked to read aloud part of a shared classroom text; while one student is reading aloud, the others are expected to follow along, reading silently.
A random selection of people to one group or another.
In grammar, another term for auxiliary; a helping verb to further specify meaning or tense (e.g., in English, the type of movement in the verb and the path in the satellites is stated as in "she runs into the kitchen").
Refers to the support that is given to students in order to facilitate learning. This support may occur as immediate, specific feedback that a teacher offers during student practice (e.g., giving encouragement or cues, breaking the problem down into smaller steps, using a graphic organizer, or providing an example). Scaffolding may be embedded in the features of the instructional design (starting with simpler skills and building progressively to more difficult skills). 
Refers to an organized outline or knowledge structure that interrelates all of one's knowledge on a specific topic. Prior knowledge and experiences are organized into schemas, and this knowledge influences how the reader comprehends written text.
An informal measurement tool designed to identify those students who are prepared for grade level reading instruction and those who may need extra help in reading.
Computer based speech recognition technology used for dictation. 
Second person
The grammatical form of "you", singular or plural; reference to a participant in an event.
Second-order factor
A product of factor analysis, which is a statistical method used to describe variability.
Secondary articulation
Refers to two co-articulated consonants which are not of the same manner (e.g., if you feel your lips while saying the words 'kite' and 'quite' you will find that although the initial sounds in the words are the same, in the second word the first sound has lip rounding in anticipation of the next sound in the word).

Separating the individual phonemes, or sounds, of a word into discrete units (e.g., 'cat' can be segmented into k-a-t).
This is a meta-cognitive process in which students actively think about how they are learning or understanding the material, activities, or reading.
Self-regulation functions
Involves complex behaviour involving self-generated plans and flexible adaptation to the changing demands of a task.
Self-selected participants
Consists of participants becoming part of a study because they volunteer when asked or in response to an advertisement. 
Semantic processing
The method by which word meaning is processed.
Semantic-phonetic compounds
A character that consists of a semantic radical and a phonetic radical. The semantic radical is a pictograph which provides information about the meaning of the character, and the phonetic radical provides information about the pronunciation (e.g., Chinese has many characters that are semantic-phonetic compounds).
Refers to an individual's knowledge of word meanings.
Refers to a group of languages of Middle Eastern origin (e.g., Hebrew and Arabic); may also be used to describe cultures of Middle Eastern origin.
A secondary consequence or result to an initial disorder.
The ability to order objects; may refer to appropriate ordering of sounds or letters.
Sequential processing
An ability to take in, store, process and use information in an orderly way.
Serial learning
Learning to make a series of responses in exact order.
Shared reading
An instructional approach in which a teacher reads a story aloud to either a whole class or a small group of students, explicitly teaching them proficient reading behaviours and allowing each student visual access to the text.
Short-term memory
A system for temporarily storing and managing information.
Sight word efficiency
The ability to recognize previously unseen words quickly.
Sight words
Words that are recognized immediately and automatically. These words may be phonetically regular (e.g., "if", "this", "and") or irregular (e.g., "would", "said", "from", "have").
Signal-to-noise ratio
The measured difference between a signal (e.g., speech) and noise (e.g., classroom noise) in the environment.
Situated cognition
A learning theory referring to the understanding that knowledge is learned within the context of how the skill would be used in real life. 
Social cognition
Refers to the brain's ability to code and store information regarding interactions with other humans. Frequently used to refer to differing social abilities that are found in social processing disorders such as autism.
Social constructivist theory
A theory which argues that people gain knowledge and meaning through their experiences and interactions with others.
Sociocultural influences
A combination of social and cultural factors.
Sociodemographic factors
Relates to a person's socio-economic status, sex, gender, race, occupation, educational achievement, income, employment or location.
Socioeconomic status
Relates a person’s status to others based on their income, education and occupation.
Socioeconomic strata
A means of dividing people from a certain population (e.g., a city) into groups based on social and economic standing.
A person who studies the way an aspect of society effects language and the way it is used.
Sound deviation
Sounds which are different from typically produced sounds, sometimes referred to as an error in production (e.g., producing a sound such as /p/ using the back of the mouth instead of the front so 'pup' becomes 'kuk').
Spatial reasoning
Refers to the ability to specify the location of an object and its relative position to another object, and to use and interpret spatial representations (e.g., maps; Ginsburg, Cannon, Eisenband, & Pappas, 2006).
Spatial sense
An intuitive feel for shape and space. It involves the concepts of traditional geometry, including an ability to recognize, visualize, represent, and transform geometric shapes.
Specific language impairment (SLI)
A disorder in which both language that is expressed and understood is impaired. It is unrelated to other disorders and often stands alone, meaning that only the individual's capacity for language is affected.
A method of visually representing voiced speech sounds, using time, frequency and energy.
Spectrographic analysis
Displays visual information about the acoustic characteristics of speech.
Speech perception
The process by which sounds are perceived, processed, analysed and interpreted.
Speech perception analysis
The process by which speech sounds are interpreted to represent meaningful information.
Speech perception intervention
When children are taught how to listen to a new speech sound and how to say the new sound.
Speech sample
A collection of verbal conversation selected as a subset of "regular speech."
Speeded naming
The ability to recall formal titles at a rapid pace.
Spontaneous speech
A sample of speech which has not been planned or does not follow a specified model.
Standard deviation (SD)
A measure of the variability or dispersion of a population, a data set, or a probability distribution. A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be very close to the same value (the mean), while high standard deviation indicates that the data are spread out over a large range of values.
Standard English
The version of English accepted as the norm, including its grammar, spelling and vocabulary, and showing none of the regional or other variations that are considered by some to be ungrammatical, or non-standard English.
Standard error of the measurement
Represents the range of possible performances that a single individual could have on a standardized test (if the test was taken repeatedly); takes into account the variability in performance that could occur on a standardized test.
Standard score
Used to compare a child’s performance on a standardized test to other children of the same age or grade level.
A form of measurement that is governed by strict rules of use so that results can be broadly compared.
Standardized tests
Tests designed so that the test items and the administration procedures are the same each time the test is administered. The standardization serves two purposes. It assures that the test and its administration remain consistent, so as to be completed in the manner that has been shown to be effective, and it permits the comparison of the performance of one group of test takers with another.
The ability to produce a target sound following a verbal model of the sound from a speech language pathologist.
A stop sound is created by stopping the airflow through the vocal tract for an instant, with the lips or the tongue (e.g., sounds that stop the airflow /p/, /t/, /k/, /b/, /d/, /g/). Also referred to as plosives.
Stress boundaries
Points at which it is permissible in a language to place accentuated emphasis on a syllable (e.g., saying 'EMphasis' vs. 'emPHAsis').
Characteristic of a language where the stressed syllables are said at approximately regular intervals.
Stressed and unstressed syllables
Syllables perceived to be longer or more emphasized are known as stressed syllables, while unstressed syllables are perceived as shorter or contain less of an emphasis.
Stroke patterns
The rhythm of combined characters which act as a basis for spelling units (e.g., in Chinese).
Structural equation modeling
In statistics, a procedure used to estimate causal relationships.
Subcortical regions
The regions of the brain that are below cortex level; i.e., within the lobes of the brain.
Refers to the ability to judge the number of a small number of objects in a set without actively counting.
Sublexical procedure
A routine used as a reading strategy to determine the pronunciation of words by associating single letters or groups of letters together in a specific sequence.
Subtractive bilingualism
Occurs when children acquire the dominant language of the community in a learning setting in which they often lose or fail to develop proficiency in their home language.
Superior parietal lobe
A region in the brain in the upper part of the parietal lobe.
Superior temporal gyrus (STG)
The ridge in the temporal lobe in which the primary auditory cortex and Wernicke's area (for speech processing) are located.
Superior temporal sulcus (STS)
The groove separating the superior temporal gyrus from the middle temporal gyrus; is involved in gaze perception and recognition of movement.
Supplementary motor region
A region of the brain responsible for the planning and coordination of complex movements such as those requiring two hands.
Supramarginal gyrus
A fold or ridge on the surface of the brain involved in spatial orientation and word representation.
Attributes of phonemes that are unable to be analysed as individual units (e.g., prosody, stress, tone).
A set of written symbols which represent syllables.
In a language, the time spent on each syllable is equal, meaning that there are no stressed or unstressed syllables.
Symbolic communication
Behaviours that involve the use of symbols (e.g., objects, speech, sign language) to communicate a message.
Symbolic number skills
The ability to recognize numerical symbols as holding meaning for mathematical value.
Concerning the rules governing how words are put together to form sentences.
Syntactic awareness
Refers to a person’s understanding of grammar and word order in sentences.
Syntactic classes
Also known as a lexical category or part of speech; e.g., noun, verb, adverb.
Syntactic development
The progression during which a child acquires the rules of syntax which are applied to the child's native language.
Syntactic phenotype
Observable characteristics of DNA as they relate to syntactic development, meaning the child's acquisition of syntax and observable application of these rules.
Syntactic processing
The ability of the brain to assign syntactic categories (i.e., nouns, verbs, etc.) and to process this information in order to derive greater meaning for the whole sentence.
Syntactic relationships
The association between words is dependent on syntactic category; meaning for the greater phrase is determined by word order and the existing meanings of the words in relation to one another.
Syntactic structure
The composition of words dependent on conventions and rules of the language employed to create meaningful sentences.
Syntactical (organization)
See syntactic structure.
The conventions and rules for assembling words into meaningful sentences; syntax varies across languages.
Synthetic phonics
Involves teaching students the sounds of individual letters or letter combinations in isolation before they are introduced to reading. Students learn letter sounds and then "synthesize" or blend the sounds together to pronounce words.
Systematic phonics
Involves teaching students direct letter-sound relationships in an organized, logical sequence. This type of instruction allows students to apply their knowledge of letter-sound relationships to reading as they learn it.
Systematic review
A form of review with explicit criteria for the inclusion and exclusion of studies found through exhaustive searches of the databases.
An idea or concept that is understood without being openly stated or expressed.
A verbal response including a label, name or narrative to a non-verbal stimulus.
Tactile cues
A method of obtaining information through sensory input such as by touching (e.g., counting items using touch without seeing them).
Target sound
Sounds that a speech-language pathologist aims to work on throughout a therapy session, or that a caregiver works on while carrying out home programming.
Target words
Words that a speech-language pathologist aims to work on throughout a therapy session, or that a caregiver works on while carrying out home programming.
Temporal lobe
The region of the brain thought to be involved in auditory perception, semantic processing and vision.
Temporal stability
A measurement of reliability, often known as 'test-retest', which is the likelihood that a test will yield the same or similar result when given more than once to the same responder. For an instrument to be useful, it is essential for it to have a reasonable level of temporal stability that can be related to the defining measures of the constructs.
A grammatical marker made using any form of a verb that indicates when in time (past, present or future) an action occurs.  
A subdivision of the brain that serves as a relay station to and from the cerebral cortex and functions in arousal and the integration of sensory information.
Based on or calculated through theory rather than experience or practice.
Theoretical approach
Approach based on or calculated through theory rather than experience or practice.
Theoretical model
Model based on or calculated through theory rather than experience or practice.
Theory of mind
An individual’s ability to understand and interpret other individual’s actions, intentions, beliefs or desires.
Third person singular
A verb form used to express "he", "she", "it" or "one".
Transitive verb/verb construction
A verb (or verb construction) that requires a direct object (e.g., in English the verb 'hit' - Sarah hit Molly).
Involving research across different subjects or disciplines. 
Trochaic rhythm
A pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, frequently seen in Shakespearean literature and often used in articulation therapy. Often follows a vowel-consonant-vowel pattern (e.g., the stress pattern sounds like DA dum DA dum DA dum DA dum).
Turner syndrome
A rare chromosomal disorder of females characterized by short stature, reproductive difficulties, and in some cases, distinct physical characteristics. Most individuals with Turner syndrome are not developmentally delayed. They may have some learning disabilities, particularly with regard to spatial perception, visual-motor coordination, and mathematics. As a result, the nonverbal IQ in Turner syndrome tends to be lower than the verbal IQ.
Typological differences
A system of classifying the sound (phonological) and order and structural (grammatical) differences between languages.
In speech therapy, an imaging technique that can be used to show the position and shape of the tongue inside the mouth (Bernhardt, 2004). 
Universal grammar
A theory of language acquisition which is thought to be innate to humans. It suggests that there is a system of grammar that is shared by all languages, but does not seek to explain specific grammar of individual languages.
The degree to which test questions actually measure what they are designed to test.
A word used to express actions, events or states of being (e.g., runs, eats).
Verbal memory
The ability to retain speech or language information for a designated time period.
Verbal sentences
Sentences expressed in spoken words.
Verbal Short-term memory
Also referred to as working memory; the memory that holds information for a short amount of time.
Visual perception
The ability to interpret information and surroundings from the effects of visible light reaching the eye.
Visual word-form area
An area of the brain thought to be responsible for amassing and processing combinations of letters and their meanings into coherent words of a given language.
Visual-orthographic skills
The skills pertaining to the ability to recognize the appropriate orientation of letters and numbers.
Visual-spatial knowledge
Knowledge pertaining to the perception of the spatial relationships between objects in one's field of vision.
The stock of words used by or known to an individual.
Vocalic inventories
The collection of vowel sounds in a language (e.g., English has 20 vowel sounds in its inventory).
Vocalic paraphasia
The production of incorrect vowels in a word.
Voiceless pharyngeal fricative
A consonant which is like h but is produced slightly higher in the vocal tract than h (in the pharynx rather than at the glottis).
White matter
Located in the inner part of the brain; one of the two major tissue components of the brain which contains the axons (i.e., wiring) that brain signals use to travel on between distant, but connected, brain regions.
Whole language
An approach to reading instruction in which children are encouraged to learn to read words through multiple exposures to certain words and their reflection upon the texts that they have read (e.g., Smith, 2004). Direct instruction of phonics is not a primary focus of this approach.
Williams syndrome
A rare genetic disorder characterized by developmental delay, learning disorders, unusual appearance of the face, a sociable personality, and delayed speech.
Word decoding
The ability to translate written words into speech sounds (i.e., sounding out a word).
Word identification accuracy
The ability to correctly recognize and label words.
Working memory
Refers to the memory system used to store and actively manipulate temporary information for use; can also be called short-term memory.
Written language skills
Includes knowledge of letter names and sounds and orthographic processing.


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