Words in English public website
Ling/Engl 216 course information
Rice University
Prof. S. Kemmer

Review 2: Study Guide for Midterm 1

Fall 2016

Midterm 1, the second exam, 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.

There are a few questions on the History of English, similar to the ones in the Study Test; some on loanwords, mostly on those in Ch. 6; and some on the Word Formation Types (neologism types).

By now you should have mastered the morphological concepts introduced in the first part of the course. The midterm will build on these concepts (loanwords, a little on the major periods of the history of English, morphemes, roots, affixes, free, bound, and the word formation types). You can review these at:
Roots and affixes Roots and affixes

Also useful in preparing for the Midterm is the first review terminology page:
Review 1: Study Guide..

The Midterm will have a stronger focus on: allomorphy and types ("rules") of allomorphy; assimilation types and processes, as well as important cases of assimilation in classical morphology; phonetics - understanding of consonants and vowels (sounds not letters!) and their production using the vocal tract and the articulators (tongue, lips, teeth); the resulting classes 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 Midterm 1 (the second exam) will test:

  • 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
  • some important types and examples of allomorphy taken into English via borrowing from the classical languages
  • 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, as well as the definitions of the major sound classes

    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

    © Suzanne Kemmer
    Last modified 25 Sept 2016