Study Guide LING_210

(1) Describe the concept of a “socio-linguistic variable” using the distribution of the lexical variable pail vs. bucket as illustrated by the map on page 413 of your textbook. In doing so, also contrast the east coast data on pail/bucket with the contrast in your own speech. When citing examples from another speech community, be sure to use actual examples, noted in the book or lectures.

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(2) Use the data on the verb “keep” to explain (a) the concept of “polysemy,” (b) the role of “metaphor” in creating polysemy. Be sure to refer to this specific data set and examples.

(3) What do linguists mean by the term “speech act”? Using the pragmatics data set, identify two clear examples of a direct speech act and two clear examples of an indirect speech act, and explain in clear precise terms, the distinction between the two types of speech acts.

(4) Explain, using two clear examples, the problems with drawing a clear distinction between saying that two communities speak a different ‘dialect’ as opposed to saying they each speak a different ‘language.’

(5) Explain, using clear examples, the most important historical and social factors associated with the AngloSaxon (Old English), Middle English, and Early Modern periods in the history of the English Language.

(6) Explain, using two clear examples from the pragmatics data set, the concept of “face” and the contrast between “negative politeness” and “positive politeness.”

(7) Using clear examples, explain the concept of recursion as applied to English Phrase Structure, and explain why the presence recursion is considered such an important feature of human languages (as opposed to its absence other animal systems).

(8)Using your own career or intellectual interests as a foundation, describe three important ideas/facts, learned in this class, about language/linguistics that ( 1) you weren’t really aware of, or understood clearly, before this class, and (2) you think are important for someone, like you, with your career or intellectual interests, to understand. Explain the concepts clearly and then explain why they are important

for someone in your situation. 

Compose each answer as if you were writing as part of a study guide/handbook for future linguistics 210 students. In other words, the goal is to compose a short

composition that introduces the concepts and explains them clearly to the target

audience. Don’t regurgitate information to impress the instructor; instead write so as to explain the ideas clearly to the target audience. Also, don’t refer to the book or the class itself; your explanation must be self-evident from the data and examples. You may assume that the reader already has the data sets and has a phonetics chart they can use to look up the symbols if needed.

Conventions: use phonetic symbols when referring to allophones or phonemes, enclose them in brackets [ ]. When referring to letters, used scare quotes, e.g., the letter “b”. When referring to prefixes, suffixes or infixes use a dash to separate the morpheme from the root, e.g. the suffix “–ed”.

a. Semantics Data

a. She kept the money.

b. She kept the money in her pocket.

c. She kept the dog in a cage.

d. She kept the dog happy.

e. She kept the dog well fed.

f. She kept the water warm.

g. She kept the water boiling.

h. She kept the water running.

i. She kept running the water.

j. She kept to herself.

 Pragmatics data

a. Do you think we need that much salt? (Said to partner/roommate while cooking)

b. Would you mind taking off your shoes? (Host to guest at door)

c. How about we clean up the dishes first? (One partner/roommate to another after a meal)

d. Time’s up. Put your pencils down! (Proctor during exam)

e. Hey, what are you doing later tonight? It’s Karaoke night at the Pub (Two students

studying together in the library in the early evening)

f. Great fun hanging out. You’re amazing. Got time for a hike at Silver Falls this weekend?

(Text next morning after a “first date”).

g. Turn off all cellphones, laptops and other electrical devices. (Airplane announcement)

h. They just announced that Clinton lost Michigan (one partner/roommate to another after

one stepped out of the room for a few minutes on election night).

i. Are we having dessert this evening? (Server to diners after they’ve finished their meal)


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