Exam questions

Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 11:00 am
Here are 9 questions for my tomorrow exam. I don't know the answers for q. 3, 7, 8 and 9, 5 I think is correct. Would be very grateful for short answers, this is the matter of time and my studies! Thank You!


1. A lot of punctuation errors, including negative transfer, result from lock of a clear understanding of the structure of grammatical constituents and relationship between them. Give a short lecture on English punctuation, using terms such as adjunct, disjunct, cohesive devices, etc., indicating possibilities of neg. transfer.

2. Discuss the issue of semantic regularity/irregularity in derivations, compounds, borrowings, clippings and multi-word lexical items.

3. An adverbial can be substantiated by a variety of constituents, and so can a noun phrase. Explain, using examples.

4. The metalinguistic use of language has in most cases different roles in acquiring the L1 and the L2. Discuss, using proper terminology.

5. The distinction between polysemy and homonymy may sometimes be fuzzy. use examples to argue it, and then provide a distinction for the following categories: hyponymy/metonymy, homophony/homography and adjcetives/adverbs.

6. In the English language, free morphemes often carry grammatical tasks which are carried out by bound morphemes in another language, such a s Polish, and the other way round. Give examples and discuss them.

7. Learning a language is like building a complex machine which gets rusty when it falls into disuse. Discuss the metaphor, using linguistic and psychological terminology.

8. Semantic differences may, but need not, result from cultural differences. Explain using examples.

9. Skinner's idea that language is learnt solely via imitation was successfully criticised by scholars such as Chomsky, who plausibly contend that language competence is productive. However, there are limitations to this productivity. Discuss the issue, using terms such as behaviourism, chunking, etc.



1. Wrong punctuation may lead to a misinterpretation of contents
by hindering awareness of specific grammatical structures and relationships (e.g.
immediate sentence constituents, coordination and subordination), the functions
of textual markers (adjuncts, disjuncts, conjuncts) and, in sum, by adding difficulties
to topic sentences.
In terms of a system of punctuation, it is very common to find conjunctive adjuncts occurring in written English following a colon or semicolon. The choice of position for a linking element is usually influenced by its form and semantic category; for instance, long adjuncts would not normally be used in medial position, whereas linking devices in the form of simple or compound adverbs are acceptable in all three positions
The use of commas and semicolon is not the same in, for example, Swedish and English, which frequently makes learners use these features incorrectly.
Punctuation patterns may negatively transfer to the writing of English. Run-on sentences such as the following are common: Paris is a beautiful city, it is also very expensive!

2. Semantic irregularity of primary compounds does not entail any formal irregularity. Any two nouns whatever can be juxtaposed in English to produce a formally acceptable root compound.
Inflections apply with great formal and semantic regularity across a part of speech, while derivations tend toward the opposite: to show irregularities in form, to have semantic idiosyncracies, and to be selective and difficult to predict with respect to the words to which they apply.
Another statement or thesis: complex words also need space in the lexicon for their semantics, those that may seem fairly transparent, as well as those that are clearly "lexicalized." However, at the ultra-transparent end, there may be an exception, derivational processes that know of no exceptions and whose semantics permit no irregularities.
What is/are then the semantic difference/s between clipped forms and full forms (base
A/ either the clipped form and the full form have more or less the same meaning, which is the
most frequent case;
B/ the clipped form is marked colloquial or slang compared to the base lexeme which is the
unmarked form.
Clipping? There seems to be that any strict semantic tendency can’t be inferred for
clipping. Indeed, grammar and syntactic study, as well as semantics do not seem to have more
to say on clipping.
As for multi word lexical items, to reconstruct any regularity in transferring some multi-word lexical units as acronyms from and to language for general purposes and language for special purposes the word formation processes are taken into consideration.

4. In certain researches, metalinguistic use of language enables interviewees to analyse the L2
and understand why certain forms are required to express particular meanings. However, metalinguistic knowledge may be misapplied either because a learner fails to focus on the structural aspects which are pertinent to the resolution of the given test item, or because they oversimplify or unnecessarily complicate otherwise suitable grammar rules.
The term ‘Metalinguistic transfer’ is the key concept. It is the application of particular metalinguistic awareness and knowledge acquired in students of L1 to speaking, reading and writing in their L2.
Furthermore, the syntax of the L2 is not acquired unconsciously, or at least not in the way L1 syntax is acquired. Only few L2 learners develop the same degree of unconscious, rule-governed insight into and use of the L2 which they demonstrate with the L1.
Additionally, the L1 could have a role of metalinguistic pattern for a better understanding of the L2. metalinguistic explanations of L2 in L1 are the practical motivations for L1 use.

5. homonymy is present when two words have the same spelling or sound but have different meanings. Examples:
“Fleet” (group of vehicles) and “fleet” (swift), “plane” and “plain,” and the verb “sow” (plant seeds) and the noun “sow” (female swine) are homonyms of three types.
Polysemy is the existence of several meanings for a single word or phrase.(polysemia, poly = many, sema= sign)
For this reason in dictionaries, homonyms are usually presented as different entries, one below the other, while polysemy is presented in numebrs, as a nuances in the meaning.
The creterium is clear although not always respected. When there is uncertainty one of the best ways to differ is looking at the root of words. Homonyms almost always have different linguistic root, while polysemy develops through the interpretation of the same linguistic root. Still this is not absolute, as for example both fleet (naval vehicles) and fleet (swift) have the same root (fleotan = to float, to swim), but are obviouslly things different enough.

hyponymy - the semantic relation of being subordinate or belonging to a lower rank or class
metonymy - A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated, as in the use of Washington for the United States government or of the sword for military power.

Homophony - the linguistic phenomenon whereby words of different origins become identical in pronunciation
Homography - That method of spelling in which every sound is represented by a single character, which indicates that sound and no other.

Adjective - The part of speech that modifies a noun or other substantive by limiting, qualifying, or specifying and distinguished in English morphologically by one of several suffixes, such as -able, -ous, -er, and -est, or syntactically by position directly preceding a noun or nominal phrase.

Adverb - a word or group of words that serves to modify a whole sentence, a verb, another adverb, or an adjective

6. bound morpheme: a sound or a combination of sounds that cannot stand alone as a word. The s in cats is a bound morpheme, and it does not have any meaning without the free morpheme cat
free morpheme: a morpheme that can stand alone as a word without another morpheme. It does not need anything attached to it to make a word. Cat is a free morpheme.
Morphemes are the minimal units of meaning in all languages, and many languages have prefixes and suffixes. But languages may differ in how they deploy their morphemes. A morpheme that is a prefix in one language may be a suffix in another language.
For example, in English the plural morpheme -s is a suffix (e.g. boys, machines, papers.) In a language spoken in Mexico, the plural morpheme ka- is a prefix:
zigi "chin" kazigi "chins"
zike "shoulder" kazike "shoulders"

In Russian, the suffix -shchik added to a noun is similar in meaning to the English suffix -er in words like reader, teenager, Londoner, racer, and first grader. The Russian suffix, however, is added to nouns only, as shown in these examples:
atom "atom" atomshchik "atom-warmonger"
baraban "drum" barabanshchik "drummer"
kalambur "pun" kalamburshchik "punner"
beton "concrete" betonshchik "concrete worker"
lom "scrap" lomshchik "salvage collector"

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