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

Midterm #2 Review

The second midterm will be activated on Owlspace November 2, 2007, after class, and its accessibility will end Monday November 5, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. This and all exams for the class are under the Honor Code.

Midterm #2 will cover chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7, as well as parsing of latinate words.

The main focus of this exam will be phonetics, including sound terminology (for review of the sound terminology and its parsing, see the Sound Terminology page); phonological processes (both general ones, like assimilation, and specific ones, like the place assimilations of the Latin prefix /ad-/ 'to, towards'); parsing, etymology, and semantic change.

The time limit on the exam will be 1.5 hours, but it is meant to be doable in ca. one hour. It is not meant to be a race against the clock. Do the exam in one sitting, with only short breaks (if necessary). While your exam is activated, no naps, chattings with friends, web surfing (even on the course site) etc. The exam is designed to be done in one sitting in a quiet place and with no internet information visible other than the "Tests and Quizzes" site on Owlspace. (Music is OK though). Submit the exam when done. Web surfing, or having conversations with others, or even conversations going on around you, could lead to accidental violations of the Honor Code.

SK comment--I take the Honor Code very seriously and so should you, in part because it makes our lives SO much better here at Rice! No exam police like at other universities!! Flexible exam schedules!! Don't abuse the freedom we all benefit from. (I believe that there are not many who need to be reminded of this, but occasionally I have encountered such students and had to deal with them.)

Some abilities you should have by the time of the exam:


consonants                        fricative
voicing                           affricate
larynx (voice box), vocal chords  nasal (nasal consonants are also nasal stops)
place of articulation             liquid
lips, bilabial                    approximant
labiodental                       lateral
interdental, dental               voicing assimilation
alveolar, alveolar ridge          place assimilation
palatal-alveolar                  manner assimilation
( = alveo-palatal,                partial assimilation
  = post-alveolar)                total assimilation
hard palate, palatal              vowels
soft palate (velum), velar        vowel frontness: front/central/back
glottis, glottal                  vowel height: high/mid/low
manner of articulation            diphthong
stop (oral stop = plosive)        schwa  (the mid-central neutral vowel)

Phonological processes

A small terminological note, not terribly important, but I add it with the aim of being precise about terminology:

Phonological processes start out as very general unconscious articulatory adaptations that speakers make while speaking. At the very beginning they are idiosyncratic, but when a group of speakers makes them systematic (another way of saying that they become conventionalized among that group), they are then properly called phonological processes. After a while, what often happens is that a process becomes specific to a certain morpheme or morphemes, and is no longer fully general to all sounds that meet the phonological conditions. At this point such a process is called a morphophonological process or a morphophonological rule.

The classic example is the set of processes that govern the English plural allomorphs [s], [z], [əz]. This set of processes in English does not operate on all /s/ sounds, just when the /s/ is the English plural morpheme. The processes together are called the "English plural rule". Most of the "phonological processes" we have talked about in class and which are discussed in the book really operate on specific morphemes and hence are actually morphophonological processes. Sometimes, for simplicity's sake, linguists may refer to morphophonological processes as phonological processes. (The first term is such a mouthful!) The two types of processes have much in common, since one is just a historically later stage of the other, and that is why it is not that necessary for us to distinguish them.

deletion, loss
filler, linker morpheme           
Semantic change
etymology                         euphemism
polysemy                          taboo
homonymy                          amelioration
widening (generalization)         pejoration (degeneration)
narrowing (specialization)        synechdoche
metaphor                          eponymy

© 2007 Suzanne Kemmer

Last modified 29 Oct 07