Learning languages is always accompanied by comparing their structure. Contrastive grammar established point-by-point relations between the system of two languages, with the aim of explaining and possibly helping translators and teachers to prevent mistakes made by speakers of one language in learning the other.
Contrastive grammar as a branch of linguistics employs some special terms, the most important of which are:
- absolute universals - typical features of any language of the world( parts of speech, the sentence as a syntactical units, parts of the sentence)
- dominant features - features, which dominating in the structure of language( the fixed word order in present day English)
- recessive features are those losing their former dominant role
- isomorphic features are common features in languages under contrastive analysis( the category of persons, number in English and Ukrainian)
- allomorphic features are those typical of one language and non-existent in the other
- likeness and similarity. Likeness is any presence of common features which provides comparability of languages( the category of mood in Ukrainian and English). Similarity is having similar features are typologically relevant. Similar elements are called correspondents and their inter-language relation
- similarity of certain features may vary in degree. A sufficient degree of similarity makes correspondents equivalents. This term is mostly used in the theory of translation.