English 336: Introduction to Linguistics

Study Guide For Linguistics Test I

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Spring 2009

Linguistics Home Page

STUDY TIP: Use the summaries (especially the words in boldface) in F & R, chapters 1, 3, 4 for review, and the glossary. Also review the same material that was on the Morphology quiz. Reviewing Daniels' "Nine Ideas about Language" and the assigned chapters from Weaver, Grammar for Teachers, would be helpful.

1. Introduction: Understand concepts:

2. Morphology:

3. Syntax:

• Understand terms: grammaticality, phrasal categories, syntactic categories, lexical categories vs. functional categories of words (same as open vs. closed classes, or content vs. function words in morphology), subcategorization (or C-selection), structural vs. lexical/semantic ambiguity, paraphrases of synonymous sentences, phrase-structure rules and trees, surface vs. deep structure, transformations (or transformational rules), head word in phrases and complements, recursiveness (categories can be repeated in a phrase or sentence, or recur at different levels of tree diagrams), main and embedded S

• Traditional, structural, and generative-transformational grammar—basic aims and differences, background on dictionaries and grammar study (See class notes and the chapters from C. Weaver, Grammar for Teachers.)

• Identify Major Syntactic Categories and Word Classes:

Types of sentences:

• Be able to diagram sentences (as in exercise 7) if given P-S rules like those on p. 147.
• Identify transformation of a basic sentence into passive, imperative, yes-no quest. or wh-word question, and adverb movement as a transformation.
• Know meanings of symbols used in P-S rules such as parentheses, arrow —>.

Samples of Possible Test Questions on Syntax with Answers:

A. Indicate whether each of the following sentences is active (A) or passive (P).

1. _____A_______ Joshua carved the delicate chess pieces for his woodcraft project.
2. _____A_______ The tourists had left litter of all kinds in the park at the end of the day.
3. _____P_______ Thousands of people have been left homeless by urban development.
4. _____P ______ Dogs and cats should not be used by scientists to test chemicals.
5. _____A ______ People with respiratory ailments should not shovel snow.

B. Sentence Types: Indicate whether each sentence is (a) declarative, interrogative, or imperative;
(b) simple, compound, complex; (c) the underlined verb is transitive, intransitive, or linking.

1. (a) Dec. (b) Simple (c) trans He had discarded the old document, apparently intentionally.
2. (a) Imp. (b) Complex (c) trans Understand that you must be home by midnight.
3. (a) Inter. (b) Simple (c) intrans Could the children have been lying about the broken glass?
4. (a) Dec (b) Complex (c) link Lovers are so foolish when they believe love will last forever.
5. (a) Inter (b) Compound (c) link Where have you been and why are you late?
6. (a) Dec. (b) Complex (c) trans. The wizard with the tall hat believed that Harry would conquer the forces of evil.
7. (a) Dec. (b) Compound (c) intrans The immature witches joked about Hagrid's huge size and he defended his strange pets.

C. Syntactic Categories. Above each of the underlined phrases, indicate whether it is a noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective (Adj), auxiliary, adverb, or prepositional phrase. Then circle the head word in each phrase (does not apply to auxiliaries or adverb). Give one label and circle one head word only for each word group underlined (e.g., even if a VP contains an NP or a PP within it, give only one label and circle one head word for the whole VP underlined).

                                    NP (circle document)                   ADV
1. He had discarded the forgotten document, apparently intentionally.

                                  AUX                            PP (circle about)
2. The children could have been lying to us about the broken glass.

              NP (circle people)                                PP (circle to)
3. All the people who lived in that house moved to Minnesota.

           Adj                               VP (circle crying)
4. The little boy on the ground was crying pitifully.

                                 NP (circle man)
5. My uncle is this elderly man with the beard.

                                           PP (circle by)                       VP (circle studying)
6. School will have started by next week , and we will be studying linguistics.

                         Adj                                                   PP (circle our)
7.  Has the energetic child full of energy been looking in our direction?

            NP (circle student)            NP (circle piece)
8. Did the student give her friend a piece of cake?

Notes on additional examples in the sentences above:

D. Identify the type of transformation represented by the following pairs of sentences.

  1. The child threw the ball down.  The ball was thrown down by the child.
    Active has been transformed to passive
    (Reminder: Passive always adds a form of be followed by the past participle of the main verb. The direct object NP moves to the subject position, but still has the meaning relationship of a direct object [i.e., it's being acted upon on or affected in some way, isn't doing the action of the sentence]. The subject of the active sentence becomes object of the prep. by, or the theoretical subject someone [if the doer isn't known] is not stated in passive sentences such as "The gates must be closed at midnight.")
  2. The child should throw the ball  Should the child throw the ball?
    Declarative sentence transformed into a yes/no question:
    (Tip: Moves the first AUX word to the front of the sentence, or add Do if there is no AUX.)
  3. You have thrown the ball where.  Where have you thrown the ball?
    Declarative sentence transformed into a WH-word question:
    (Tip: Moves the Wh-word and first AUX word to the front of the sentence. If there is no AUX stem, add do.)
  4. You will throw the ball to me.  Throw the ball to me.
    Declarative sentence transformed into an imperative sentence:
    (Tip: Deletes "You will" to make an imperative, which has an uninflected verb, often followed by other phrases, but no subject in the surface structure.)
  5. The child has thrown the ball to me carefully  The child has carefully thrown the ball to me. OR Carefully the child has thrown the ball to me. OR The child has thrown the ball carefully to me.
    Adverb Movement (moving adverb to different positions although theoretically it is generated after the verb in VP). 
  6. The child threw the ball with his father in the evenings. In the evenings the child threw the ball with his father.
    Another example of moving an adverbial phrase, or specifically a prepositional phrase--transformation called PP Preposing on p. 152
  7. A child was throwing the ball.  There was a child throwing the ball. (there sentence, see p. 152)

EXTRA CREDIT if this one is on the test:

5.  The child gave the ball to Joe.  The child gave Joe the ball. (See exercise 17, chap. 4)
    Transforms a sentence with PP after V into a sentence with an indirect object:
    (Tip: Many sentences with PP "to X" or "for X" [referring to recipients of the direct object] can be transformed so that the object of the prep. becomes an indirect object, occurring between the verb and direct object. This is an example of stylistic, optional variation like transforming an active sentence into a passive one.)

Additional Note relating to general concepts on chap. 4: Pairs of sentences in 1 and 5 illustrate synonymous sentences: they have different surface structures but mean the same things. Sentences in 2 and 3 also illustrate deep structure meaning relationships in related sentences, but these pairs of sentences aren't synonymous. Transforming a declarative sentence into a question, or interrogative, involves a substantial change in meaning (sometimes abbreviated Q as the added element in deep structure, if you were diagramming these sentences and using P-S rules that would trigger the obligatory transformation.)

April 6, 2010 4:34 PM