Words in English public website
Ling/Engl 215 course information
Rice University
Prof. S. Kemmer

Study Guide: Midterm #1 Review

Fall 2013

Midterm #1 will cover Chapters 1-6, class discussions, and web pages linked to course schedule, but with focus on the topics since the first Study Test. (For the earlier topics see Study Test 1 Review). There are a few questions on the History of English, similar to the ones in the Study Test and a few on loanwords, mostly on those in Ch. 6.

By now you should have mastered the morphological concepts introduced in the first part of the course. The midterm will build on these concepts (morphemes, allomorphs, roots, affixes, free, bound, etc.). You can review these at:
Roots and affixes

The Midterm focuses on: Word formation types; allomorphy and types ("rules") of allomorphy; phonetics - types of sounds; the number words of Ch. 6. and on parsing.

Parsing and the word formation types/neologism types are topics that continue throughout the course.

Here are some skills the second midterm will test:

  • understanding the various word formation types, particularly the special types that give us many new words in English (neologisms).
  • understanding of the nature of allomorphy and reasons it comes about
  • recognition of types of allomorphy
  • a deeper understanding of the relation of spelling and pronunciation and how and why spelling can diverge from pronunciation.
  • understanding of basic phonetics - the ways sounds in English are pronounced and the ways sets of sounds are similar and different from one another
  • a deeper understanding of parsing and ability to parse more words via recognition of more morphemes and their different allomorphs


    Parsing means dividing a word into all of its component morphemes. This process includes a) making the right divisions; b) identifying the most basic form of each morpheme; and c) glossing each morpheme. Contrast parsing into morphemes with etymology, see p. 65.

    Review Parsing page
    Also review Sound terminology page for some good examples of parsing.

    Word formation

    Review word formation types. Learn to recognize examples of each. Neologisms discussed in class might be asked about.

    compounding - forms compounds
    conversion (= zero-derivation)
    blending - forms blends
    clipping - forms clippings
    reverse acronyms (= backronyms)
    reanalysis (change in understanding of morpheme boundaries) (hamburg + er --> ham + burger)
    folk etymology
    onomotopoeia (sound of word directly mimics sound of thing, like words for animals/animal sounds)
    sound symbolism (sounds in a word suggest an idea, like disgust, stink, smallness, lightness)


    allomorphs, allomorphy
    Latin weakening


    consonants vs. vowels
    articulation, articulators

    voicing (= phonation)
    larynx (voice box), vocal chords
    voiced, voiceless

    place of articulation
    lips, bilabial
    alveolar ridge, alveolar
    alveo-palatal (= palato-alveolar; post-alveolar)
    hard palate, palatal
    soft palate (= velum), velar
    glottis, glottal

    manner of articulation
    stop, oral stop (= plosive)
    lateral approximant
    liquid (r and l)

    vowel frontness: front/central/back
    vowel height: high/mid/low
    vowel tenseness: tense, lax
    schwa (the mid-central vowel; the most neutral vowel)
    diphthongs - complex vowels (vowels composed of more than one simple vowel sound)

    sounds vs. letters (pronunciation vs. spelling) - the terms above all apply to SOUNDS not letters

    voicing assimilation
    place assimilation
    manner assimilation
    partial & total assimilation

    © 2013 Suzanne Kemmer
    Last modified 15 Oct 13