Most humans use an immense amount of language every day without ever stopping to think about the words and phrases they say, with studies finding that the average person speaks about 16,000 words a day!

We all use different linguistic devices in our speech and most of us are able to recognise the more common devices that form aspects of our speech; alliteration, personification, onomatopoeia etc. But did you know there were names for a whole variety of linguistic phenomena you didn’t know existed!

We’ve compiled a list of 5 interesting linguistic devices you will recognise and probably use daily, but likely won’t know the name for:


Significant breaking off so that the hearer must supply the unsaid words.

For example; “If your father finds out…”


Use of pet names, nursery words, diminutives, etc.

For example; comfy for comfortable


Puns, plays on words, etc. based on similarity between different words or different senses of the same word.

For example; “The critics fawned over Disney’s Bambi.”


Separation of the parts of a compound word by insertion of another word between them at an inappropriate or unlikely position.

For example; unbe-bloody-lievable


The introduction of a new word into the language from the names of people with whom the things or practices they stand for were associated.

For example;  boycott from Capt. Charles Cunningham Boycott

Did you know the names of any of these already? Or are there any other interesting linguistic devices you want to let us know about? Get in touch via our Twitter page!


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