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