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

Study Guide: Midterm #2 Review

Fall 2010

Midterm #2 will cover chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7, class discussions, and web pages linked to course schedule. It focuses on these topics: allomorphy and types of allomorphy, phonetics, semantic change and its various types, etymology, dictionarie/lexicography, the OED, plus parsing, a small amount on loanword sources, and neologism types (since these are continuing topics through the course).

The midterm will build on concepts introduced in the previous chapters, particularly concepts relating to morphology and phonetics and identification and parsing of words introduced or discussed in class and quizzes.

Here are some skills the second midterm will test:

  • understanding of the nature of allomorphy and reasons it comes about
  • A deeper understanding of the relation of spelling and pronunciation and how spelling can diverge from pronunciation
  • recognition of types of allomorphy

  • ability to recognize and produce examples of various types of semantic change
  • understanding of the cognitive processes underlying semantic change, particularly metaphor and metonymy
  • knowledge of some specific word histories discussed in class and on web links

  • understanding of the nature of dictionaries
  • ability to read complex dictionary entries such as those in the OED, and extract information about etymology, polysemy, and semantic change.


    allomorphs, allomorphy            assimilation
    ablaut                            metathesis
    rhotacism                         deletion 
    weakening                         insertion
    consonants                        fricative
    voicing                           affricate
    larynx (voice box), vocal chords  nasal
    place of articulation             liquid
    lips, bilabial                    approximant
    labiodental                       lateral
    interdental                       voicing assimilation
    alveolar, alveolar ridge          place assimilation
    palatal-alveolar                  manner assimilation
      ( = alveo-palatal)              partial & 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 (plosive)                    
    Semantic change
    polysemy                          widening (broadening, generalization)
    metaphor                          narrowing (specialization)
    metonymy                          taboo
    eponymy                           euphemism
    synechdoche                       cycle of euphemism
    amelioration (melioration)
    pejoration (degeneration)
    Dictionaries and etymology
    relation of etymology and parsing
    folk etymology, false etymologies, hoax etymologies
    authoritative sources
    citations (quotations)
    the OED (Oxford English Dictionary)
    relation of definitions and semantic change in OED


    Review Parsing page Review Sound terminology page

    Word formation

    Review word formation types, for purposes of recognizing examples. Neologisms discussed in class might be asked about.

    compounds, compounding
    folk etymology
    blends, blending

    © 2010 Suzanne Kemmer
    Last modified 22 Oct 10