Linguistics 001

Final Exam Study Guide

This document will give you some key terminology, topics and questions to help focus your review for the final exam. You should not assume that this guide is exhaustive: in principle, anything in the assigned reading or covered in the course lectures is fair game. However, you can rely on this guide to give you a picture of the relative importance of various aspects of the course material as we see them.

Be sure to read the assigned passages in Crystal's book, not just the on-line lecture notes. Often the lectures focused on certain particular aspects of a complex area, where other aspects are also covered in the text. In such cases, the final exam
is likely include some material relating to the broader issues covered in the text. In the lecture-by-lecture guide below, we cite a couple of cases of this specifically, but you should not assume that these are the only cases where the text is relevant.

The final exam will NOT be cumulative -- that is, it will be based on the material since the mid-term, and not the pre-mid-term material, except where the earlier material bears directly on the issues discussed in the second half of the course.

As in the case of the mid-term, the final exam will not contain trick questions, nor will it require knowledge of unimportant details. However, there will be an essay question in which you will have the opportunity to use your specific knowledge about aspects of language and linguistics. In addition, there will be multiple-choice and short fill-in questions, as on the mid-term. The format of the exam will be discussed during the review session in class on Dec. 8.

The outline below follows the division into lectures. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask them by email.  Answers of general interest will be sent to the course mailing list.

  1. Language and gender
    1. sex vs. gender
    2. biological sex differences related to language
    3. claimed stylistic differences between women's and men's speech
    4. difference theories (e.g. the two-cultures theory) vs. dominance theories
  2. Song, verse and language games
    1. examples of how language games work
    2. basic principles of tune-text alignment in English
    3. basic principles of accentual/syllabic verse in English
    4. metrical feet
  3. Semantics and pragmatics
    1. sense vs. reference
    2. synonymy, hyponymy, antonymy, etc.
    3. direct and indirect speech acts
    4. coreference and anaphora
    5. compositional semantics vs. Gricean interpretation
      1. note: review the material on meaning in the lecture on philosophical perspectives, and in the lectures on syntax, especially the section on the logical grammarians
  4. Reading and writing
    1. pictographic, ideographic, logographic, syllabic, phonemic systems
    2. history of writing (Crystal 198-205)
    3. design principles for new writing systems
    4. literacy around the world
    5. reading disabilities (Crystal 252-254)
  5. Child language acquisition (Crystal 230-251)
    1. research paradigms
    2. theories: input imitation vs. innateness vs. general cognitive development
    3. stages of development in various aspects of language and language use
      1. sound, syntax, vocabulary, semantics, pragmatics
  6. Language production and perception
    1. slips of the tongue (or pen or keyboard)
      1. Freud's theory
      2. contemporary theories
    2. speech perception: Crystal 142-148
    3. spoken word recognition
      1. experimental paradigms: gating, word monitoring
      2. effects of redundancy
  7. Neurology and pathology of language (Crystal 260-267, 272-281)
    1. types of aphasia: Broca's vs. Wernicke's (see Crystal for others)
    2. basic neuroanatomy of aphasia, and relationship to other localized functions in the normal brain
  8. Signed and spoken language (Crystal 222-225, 268-271)
    1. types of sign language
    2. issues in oral vs. manual education
    3. development of sign languages
    4. writing systems for sign languages
  9. Language change & languages of the world
    1. what changes, and why?
    2. types of phonological change
    3. methods of historical/comparative reconstruction
    4. families of languages
      1. why do language families exist?
      2. names of the larger families, and family trees for important modern (and ancient) languages
        1. surveyed in Crystal 294-329
  10. Human and non-human communication
    1. what is ethology?
    2. types, functions, origins of communicative displays
    3. role of instinct vs. learning in communicative displays
    4. typical sizes of display repertoire
    5. comparison of human and non-human systems