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Richard Nordquist

Semantic Transparency, Moses Illusion, and Singular "They": There's a Name for It (#21)

By September 17, 2012

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In our extensive Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms, you'll find a name for . . .

  • the deliberate misspelling, respelling, or non-standard alternative spelling of words: allegro speech

  • the phenomenon whereby readers or listeners fail to recognize an inaccuracy in a text: Moses illusion

  • speech that repeats, in whole or in part, what has just been said by another speaker: echo utterance

  • the use of the pronoun they, them, or their to refer to a singular noun: singular "they"

  • the degree to which the meaning of a compound word or an idiom can be inferred from its parts: semantic transparency

  • the four figures of speech that are regarded as the basic rhetorical structures by which we make sense of experience: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony: master tropes

  • a statement (or a series of statements) that balances one idea with a contrasting idea: dirimens copulatio

  • the use of foreign words and expressions, usually as an affectation or for humorous effect: soraismus

More Words About Words:

Image: allegro speech in the advertising slogan of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain

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