Entertainment / Literature Glossary
Diphthong: (from Greek dipthongus) A complex speech sound in which a speaker begins to articulate one vowel and moves to another vowel or semi-vowel sound by switching the position of tongue and lips. . . . View Full Definition
Dipody: In classical prosody, dipody describes the combination of two feet into another single metrical unit. Often used interchangeably with the more general term syzygy, this dipody involves the s . . . View Full Definition
Dipthongization: The change of a normal vowel into a diphthong.
Discovery Space: According to Stephen Greenblatt, this is 'A central opening or alcove concealed behind a curtain in the center of the frons scenae. The curtain could be drawn aside to 'discover' tableaux su . . . View Full Definition
Displacement: This term in linguistics refers to the ability of language to indicate or signify things not physically present.
Dissimilation: A linguistic development in which two sounds become less alike. Algeo (317) offers the example of diphtheria, in which the initial /f/ sound in
Distych: The technical term for a two-line group in which a pair of metrical lines of different lengths together compose or express a complete idea (Wheeler 38). In Greek elegies, these distichs are . . . View Full Definition
Dithyramb: An ancient Athenian poetic form sung during the Dionysia (see above). The first tragedies may have originated from the dithyrambs. See tragedy.
Dog Latin: Unidiomatic or crude pidgin Latin intermixed with local tongues. An example of dog latin appears in scene eight of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, when Robin the servant tries to invoke spirits: S . . . View Full Definition
Dolce Stil Nuovo: (Italian, 'sweet new style') Dante uses this term to describe the style of lyric poetry he sought to create in the Purgatorio. He and other Italian poets like Guinicelli and Cavalcanti using . . . View Full Definition
Donatism: The term donatism is an eponym taken from a bishop in North Africa named Donatus. During the patristic period, Donatus was upset by the readiness of the mainstream church to welcome back int . . . View Full Definition
Donnée: (French, 'given') The assumptions upon which a writer constructs a work of literature. Some common examples include the assumption that young love is fickle, that society is bleak or dangero . . . View Full Definition
Dosbarth Gwynedd: Also known as the Venodotian Code or the 'four and twenty measures,' the Dosbarth Gwynedd are an ancient and complex set of metrical rules for Welsh poetry associated with the Gwynedd region . . . View Full Definition
Double Dactyl: A comic verse written with two quatrains, with each line written in dactylic dimeter. The second line may be a name, and the sixth or seventh line may be a single word. J. A. Cuddon's poem, . . . View Full Definition
Double Entendre: (French, 'double meaning') The deliberate use of ambiguity in a phrase or image--especially involving sexual or humorous meanings.
Double Negative: Two (or more) negatives used for emphasis, e.g., 'I don't want no candy' as opposed to 'I don't want any candy.' Prescriptivist grammarians recommend avoiding double negatives in formal writ . . . View Full Definition
Double Plot: When an author uses two related plots within a single narrative. See futher discussion under subplot and plot.
Double Rhyme: A rhyme that involves two syllables rather than one. For instance, rhyming lend/send is a single rhyme, in which each word consists of a single syllable. However, the words lending/sending c . . . View Full Definition
Double Superlative: Double use of the superlative degree--such as the word foremost, which uses both the superlative sufix -m and -est (Algeo 317).
Doublet: In linguistics, a pair of words that derive from the same etymon, but since they were adapted at different times or by different routes, take on two different meanings. For instance, the Mod . . . View Full Definition
Doubling: Greenblatt describes this process as, 'The common [Renaissance] practice of having one actor play multiple roles, so that a play with a large cast of characters might be performed by a relat . . . View Full Definition
Draculas Law: A helpful mnemonic phrase, 'blood is good food' useful for remembering sound shifts in the vowel o from Middle English to Modern English. Originally, between 1200-1400, the letter
Drama: A composition in prose or verse presenting, in pantomime and dialogue, a narrative involving conflict between a character or characters and some external or internal force (see conflict). Pl . . . View Full Definition
Dramatic Monologue: A poem in which a poetic speaker addresses either the reader or an internal listener at length. It is similar to the soliloquy in theater, in that both a dramatic monologue and a soliloquy o . . . View Full Definition
Dramatis Personae: (Latinpeople of the play): A list of the complete cast, i.e., the various characters that will appear in the play. This list usually appears before the text of the main play begins in printe . . . View Full Definition
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