Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development
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Glossary (A - Z)
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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.