Ling001 Midterm Sample Questions -- Fall 2018

The first midterm will be an in-class exam, given from 12-1 on Monday, October 29. It will cover the material in lectures 1-13.

All questions will have multiple-choice or short fill-in answers, based on facts and ideas featured in the lecture notes, background readings and course lectures, or the skills you learned in your homework assignments. Of course, a question may also draw on both types of knowledge.

[answer key for the sample questions]

Some examples of the first type of question:

(Sample question #1) An article from Computational Linguistics entitled Toward an Aposynthesis of Topic Continuity and Intrasentential Anaphora probably deals mainly with which level of linguistic analysis (choose one)?

(a) phonetics
(b) phonology
(c) morphology
(d) syntax
(e) semantics
(f) pragmatics

(Sample question #2) Draw a line connecting each topic (in the right-hand column) with the person (in the left-hand column) who made the greatest contribution to it:

Ferdinand de Saussure                             language games
Melville Bell   the distinction among syntax, semantics and pragmatics
Ludwig Wittgenstein   the grammar of Sanskrit
Noam Chomsky   phonetic transcription
Panini   formal language theory

(Sample question #3) Which of the following anatomical structures is normally to be found between the pharynx and the oral cavity? (choose one)

(a) velum
(b) sternum
(c) cochlea
(d) larynx
(e) mandible

(Sample question #4) What is the primary function of this anatomical structure in speech production?


(Sample question #5) Based on a biblical story about the aftermath of a battle between the Gileadites and the Ephraimites, a term for an arbitrary linguistic marker that distinguishes one group from another is:


(Sample question #6) Estimates of vocabulary acquisition throughout childhood and adolescence suggest that on average we learn

(a) about one word every ten days
(b) about one word a day
(c) about ten words a day
(d) about a hundred words a day
(e) about five hundred words a day

Some examples of the second type of question:

(Sample question #7) Give a broad phonetic transcription of each of these names, as you would pronounce them:

Patrick Fitzgerald

Harriet Miers

Karl Rove

[Note that IPA vowel and consonant charts will be provided]

(Sample question #8) In Russell Hoban's novel Riddley Walker, an imaginary future society has re-analyzed many English words in a way that keeps the sound similar but suggests a different meaning. Pick one of the examples below, show the change in sound (using IPA transcriptions for the original and the replacement), and indicate briefly why the reanalysis might be plausible semantically.

energy → Inner G
Prime Minister → pry mincer
record → red cord (as in "I bes put the red cord strait")

(Sample question #9) Draw trees (or, if you prefer, bracketings) to show the constituent structure of the following phrases:



State Department Federal Credit Union




Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs


(Sample question #10) In the following two passages, underline any passive verbs.

Attendees at the In-Stat Fall Processor Forum here Tuesday got a preview of the of the custom-designed processor that will power Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation Xbox 360 game console.

The CPU comprises three 64-bit PowerPC cores, each running at 3.2GHz, "the highest core speed" ever achieved by this technology, according to Jeff Brown, IBM's chief engineer for the Microsoft CPU Project. Able to support two simultaneous threads, the processor was designed with the key goal of being able to support the high sustained bandwidth required by the game console. Brown said the processor should be able to hit a peak bandwidth of 21.6G bps.

The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity could hand up charges as early as today.
The grand jury is meeting this morning and is scheduled to expire on Friday, but special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could extend it.

On Tuesday, FBI agents interviewed a Washington neighbor of Valerie Plame for a second time.

The agents asked Marc Lefkowitz on Monday night whether he knew about Plame's CIA work before her identity was leaked in the media, and Lefkowitz told agents he did not, according to his wife, Elise Lefkowitz.