Study Guide for Final Exam in Linguistics
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Dr. Tina L. Hanlon
Linguistics Main Page
Exam Time: Thursday, Apr. 27, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Most of the exam will consist of matching and short-answer questions as on previous tests. You will write a few paragraphs and one essay, selecting from several possible topics that involve attitudes about language, language varieties, differences between speech and writing, or other general issues we have discussed. Bring your own paper for the sections you will write.
Know different meanings of grammar and grammaticality; prescriptive vs. descriptive approaches; linguistic competence vs. performance; arbitrary relations between signs and meanings; standard vs. nonstandard English; universal grammar; generative grammar
From introduction and other chapters, know branches of linguistics: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicography, semantics, sociolinguistics, historical and comparative linguistics, phycholinguistics including language acquisition. Linguistics as a descriptive field of study based on scientific principles has developed since the 19th century. Table 1.1 on p. 22 and the list on study of scientific study of language, p. 18, are helpful.
Review Daniels essay Nine Ideas About Language
(in Daniels, not required to memorize Hallidays seven functions of
Review Material on Morphology and Syntax: chaps. 4-5
Know terms morpheme, roots and affixes, phrase-structure rules, hierarchal structure, tree diagrams, structural vs. lexical/semantic ambiguity (see jokes p. 326, as well as ambiguity in these chapters).
Ways of Forming Words: compounding, acronyms, blends, abbreviation or clipping, new words from names and brand names, expanding productivity of morphemes
Other concepts related to syntax: recursion, subjects and predicates, head words in phrases, deep and surface structure
Dialect variations such as double modals, double negatives, using past participle for past tense forms ("I seen") and past tense forms for past participle ("I have ate")
Types of sentences:
Chapters 3-4. Phonetics and Phonology:
Be able to discuss and/or identify examples of inconsistencies in English spelling and attitudes about regularizing or reforming spelling (see also chap. 13).
Understand general terms: orthography (spelling), articulatory phonetics, diacritical marks, International Phonetic Alphabet, phonetic and phonemic transcription, phoneme, minimal pairs or sets, syllables, stress, intonation, phonological rule.
Know the terminology of articulatory phonetics well enough to be able to identify terms and generally what they refer to:
- Voiced vs. voiceless sounds (a manner of articulation)
- Syllabic sounds
- Place of articulation: bilabial, labiodental, interdental, alveolar, palatal, velar
- Other manners of articulation: aspiration, nasals, stops, plosives, fricatives, affricates, liquids, glides
- Ways of classifying vowels: schwa; high, mid or low tongue position; front, central or back areas of tongue and mouth; rounded or unrounded; tense or lax (also called long vs. short); monothongs and diphthongs.
Vowel Shifts: Great Vowel Shift and modern vowel shifts
Examples of phonological rules: vowel nasalization, absence of /r/ after vowels in different dialects, aspiration of voiceless consonants at the beginning of a stressed syllable before a vowel, English words never begin with a velar nasal.
Semantics: Chaps. 9-10
Language Acquisition: Chap. 2
See Idea 1 in essay Nine Ideas About Language.
Parentese or child-directed speech (AKA baby talk or caretaker speech): language adults use with children.
Researchers disagree about the potentiality for teaching nonhuman animals language and about whether language is a difference in degree between humans and other primates, or whether the development of language is a larger species-specific leap that distinguishes humans, but most agree that human have unique ability to internalize linguistic rules and apply them spontaneously and creatively, to understand and utter new phrases and sentences at all times. All human children (unless physical or mental problems interfere) learn language through basically the same process regardless of race social background, etc. (just the timing of acquisition stages varies with each individual child).
Language and Society: Chap. 12
Be familiar with terms dialect, slang, jargon, taboo language, dialect atlases & maps, Appalachian English, standard English and General American (some of these are introduced in earlier chapters).
Linguistic variables: pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax (in this order of frequency)
Social variables (studied by sociolinguists in recent decades):
History of Writing: Chap. 13
Know terms pictogram (using pictures for words, which are nonarbitrary forms of language) and alphabetic writing (developed by ancient Greeks, who adapted older systems and used symbols for individual sounds, generally one symbol per phonemedespite many inconsistencies in the alphabetic writing of English spelling).
Sumerians developed writing about 3400 BCE (using pictograms). Beginning about that same time, Egyptian hieroglyphics developed over centuries from using pictures (pictographic writing) to word-writing or logographic writing with symbols for words (as in Chinese). About 500 BCE Romans adapted Greek alphabet to write Latin; Latin alphabet was used in modern European languages, including English.
Be able to discuss some differences between speech and writing, including punctuation, and learning to speak/write. Reading/writing have to be taught and studied by learners, while acquiring speech (or sign language) is a natural process in early childhood (except for children with diseases or injury that inhibits language acquisition). Reading/writing can be learned at any age but speech cannot be acquired after puberty.
History of Language: Chaps. 11, 14
• Be familiar with the labels/dates for historical eras in history of the English language: Old English, Middle English, Modern English.
Be familiar with regularity of sound change (e.g., Great Vowel Shift, systematic change in seven long, or tense, vowels of English occurred 1400-1600; pronunciation differences in dialects occur in regular patterns).
Dead languages are reconstructed by studying cognates, words in related languages that developed from the same word; they illustrate systematic sound correspondences and usually have the same meanings (see examples of /p/-/f/ correspondences in European languages).
Languages derived from common parent languages are genetically related. Nineteenth-century linguists and Charles Darwin influenced each other, but the similarities between evolution of languages and biological evolution are more limited than some linguists have theorized.
Language changes gradually over many generations and we have no surviving speakers or recordings of earlier speech, so we must rely on historical evidence found in present dialect differences and written records to make assumptions about pronunciation, usage and grammaticality in older languages (using systematic similarities in spellings, misspellings that reveal pronunciation in personal letters, writings of prescriptive grammarians, puns and rhymes in literature). Using comparative methods is more difficult for languages with no written records.
The world has about 7000 mutually unintelligible languages; most languages of the world have never had writing systems, and vast numbers of languages are dying out.
A language dies when it has no more living speakers, usually because the speakers of the language are assimilated by another culture. Hebrew, the national language of modern Israel, is an example of a nearly extinct language brought back to life by deliberate revival efforts in the 20th century. Some Celtic (e.g., Welsh, Irish) and Native American languages are being revived in areas dominated by the English language for centuries.
Know these items from the family tree of Indo-European languages on p. 373:
Be able to recognize some examples of changes in sounds, morphology, vocabulary/lexicon, semantics, syntax that have occurred in the English language:
Little film "The History of English" in 10 Minutes" is linked in BrightSpace if you want to use it for review.
Examples of Lexical Changes
Semantic Changes or Shifts (see semantics chapters as well as history chap.)
History of Languages in America
American English derived from various dialects of British English. American dialects reflect settlement and migration patterns of English-speaking peoples from 17th century on, including those from other parts of the world who willingly or under coercion learned varieties of English on this continent.
Vocabulary differences in American English (compared with Britain and elsewhere) are most prominent because Americans had new environmental features to name, and different names have been developed for new products since 17th century (e.g., windshield vs. windscreen, or jumper is a sweater in England and a sleeveless garment going from neck to knees or below in U.S.).
American English has borrowed from Native American Indian languages, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, etc. at various points in history as they came in contact with each other in North America or as Americans adopted food, customs, etc. of these cultures. Place names are based on Native American words/names, names brought from many other parts of the world or carried across the country, environmental features, famous events, prominent people, and many other concepts and influences. (e.g., Virginia, Carolina, Maryland and Georgia are named after English queens and kings, New Jersey/New York/New Hampshire after older English places, Pennsylvania and Washington after colonial "founding fathers"; Vermont = green mountain; many states have Indian or Spanish names.)
The U. S. has no official language although some states have passed English-only laws and debates continue about making English an official language. Many immigrants speak other languages and may or may not learn English after moving here. Other non-English languages used in this country include many different Native American languages such as Cherokee (or Tsalagi) and American Sign Language .
Many Native American languages have died out or have only a few speakers left. Cherokee is one that is being revived among Cherokee populations (as Welsh and Hebrew have been revived in other countries). Sequoyah was the only person who ever individually invented a writing system (a syllabary--see pp. 443-44). He was not literate in any language but figured out how to develop a syllabary for writing Cherokee, partly in imitation of the English alphabet (except that characters represent syllables, not phonemes), and it has been used to write Cherokee since the mid-19th century.
This page's last update: April 21, 2017 6:19 PM