Glossary (Version 8.4)

The categories into which texts are grouped. The term has a complex history within literary theory and is often used to distinguish texts on the basis of their subject matter (for example, detective fiction, romance, science fiction, fantasy fiction), form and structure (for example, poetry, novels, biography, short stories).

The language we use and the description of language as a system. In describing language, attention is paid to both structure (form) and meaning (function) at the level of the word, the sentence and the text.

The terms ‘group’ and ‘phrase’ are used by different schools of linguistics to refer to units intermediate between the clause and the word. In the English curriculum, ‘group/phrase’ is used to recognise these different usages. For example, the units enclosed in brackets in the following sentence are examples of a group/phrase: ‘(The carnival) (had made) (the two little girls with the red shirts) (very tired)’.

In the example, ‘the carnival’ and ‘the two little girls with the red shirts’ are called noun groups/phrases because they have a noun (‘carnival’ and ‘girls’) as their major element; similarly, ‘had made’ is a verb group/phrase and ‘very tired’ an adjective group/phrase.