English 336
Study Guide for Final Exam in Linguistics
Spring 2017

This study guide's revisions for 2017 are finished. It will not be changed again unless errors are found. Contact the professor if you have questions or see errors.

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Linguistics Main Page

Exam Time: Thursday, Apr. 27, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Exam Format:

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.

Use the overviews at the beginning of chapters for review (and the textbook has a glossary as well as helpful definitions in margins). Reviewing corrections to your past quiz and midterm test should be helpful, as well as getting feedback on as much homework as possible before the exam. Note that some concepts come into play in more than one chapter. Use the textbook's index if you have trouble finding concepts listed below that might be in another chapter as well.


General Review

Review Material on Morphology and Syntax: chaps. 4-5

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 (which ones are manner or place, e.g.):

• Vowel Shifts: Great Vowel Shift and modern vowel shifts (don't need to know details but these are historical pronunciation changes)

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

Language and Society: Chap. 12

History of Writing: Chap. 13

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 related, as depicted in family trees. (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

This page's last update: April 25, 2017 10:35 PM