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Quiz about Basic Linguistic Terms
Quiz about Basic Linguistic Terms

Basic Linguistic Terms Trivia Quiz


Linguistic terminology won't - in itself - help you to improve your linguistic levels. Yet it may help you to have an insight in how a language functions. Terms are illustrated with examples from English, French, Spanish and German.

A multiple-choice quiz by flem-ish. Estimated time: 7 mins.
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Author
flem-ish
Time
7 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
69,141
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Very Difficult
Avg Score
4 / 10
Plays
4396
Last 3 plays: Kabdanis (3/10), Guest 181 (5/10), PurpleComet (7/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. What is the correct term for the omission of a final syllable, sound or letter in a word as in "a cup o' tea", where f is dropped? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Initialisms are spoken as individual letters. USA and BBC are initialisms. Nato, Unesco are not because you pronounce these 'letterwords' as single words. Which of these terms is a correct synonym for an initialism? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. When you use the word Cologne for Koeln in Germany then you are using the non-local version of a place name. Same applies to Milan for Milano, Prague for Praha, The Hague for Den Haag; etc. What is the linguistic name for such a NON-local version of a place name? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. In Spanish and French an e is often added to words that in Latin began in sch, such as escuela and escole (later: ecole) for schola. What's the technical term for such an addition at the beginning of words? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The German word for potatoes was originally Tartuffeln, related to tartufoli 'truffles'. The initial T became a K: Kartoffeln. Of what language change phenomenon is that an example? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. It is it said by a famous 'linguistic law' that voiceless 'plosives' such as p, t, k in Latin or Greek will normally become voiceless 'fricatives' in English (f, th, ch). In other words pater, piscis become father, fish. Tres becomes three. Cornu, cor become horn, heart. Who 'discovered' this 'law' ? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Which of these types of linguistics applies linguistic theories and methods to the analysis of disorders of spoken, written or signed language? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In language study various abbreviations are used to refer to certain specific types of language study. EIL is English as an International Language, used for purposes of international communication. EAP is English for Academic Purposes. EOP is English for Occupational Purposes. ESP refers to English for Special Purposes as contrasted to EGP, English for General Purposes. EFL is English as a Foreign Language. Which of the following terms and abbreviations is the only one that is correct for the language preferred by a user in a multilingual situation, whether it is the first acquired or not? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Words may develop from a neutral meaning to a worse or a better meaning (villain, e.g., originally meant farm labourer) or from bad to neutral or less bad as 'mischievous' that developed from 'disastrous' to 'slightly annoying'. Words may also be reshaped because of popular misunderstanding such as (a) 'bride-goom' from bride + guma (man) into bridegroom (literally the bride's serving lad) or (b) asparagus being misnamed sparrow-grass. What is the correct name for such an evolution as in (a) or (b)? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Which of these terms refers to a type of fabricated and non-meaningful speech and is often when associated with a trance state as in the so-called 'speaking in tongues'? Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Jun 16 2024 : Kabdanis: 3/10
Jun 11 2024 : Guest 181: 5/10
May 22 2024 : PurpleComet: 7/10
May 09 2024 : Guest 202: 1/10
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Apr 24 2024 : Guest 129: 5/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. What is the correct term for the omission of a final syllable, sound or letter in a word as in "a cup o' tea", where f is dropped?

Answer: Apocope

Elision is more general as a term and refers to any leaving out of sounds especially in rapid speech: plice for police, nex day for next day, mash potatoes for mashed potatoes; gonna for going to and wanna for want to.
Liaison is the introduction of a sound between words or syllables to help them run together more smoothly as e.g. in IndiaRandPakistan; mediaRinterest.
Clipping: means that you use only a part of the word for the whole word. That can be the first syllable (ad for advertisment), the last syllable (phone for telephone) or a middle syllable (flu for influenza).
Apocope is typical as a difference between Chaucerian English and modern English: Husband(e)s fiv(e) had(de) at church(e) door(e) becomes She had five husbands at the door of the church (Wife of Bath). In other words she had officially married five husbands (one after the other).
The "opposite" of apocope is aphaeresis: the omission of a syllable, sound or letter at the beginning of a word. Syncope is the omission of etc. from the middle of a word. The pronunciation cats (a)n(d) dogs has aphaeresis AND apocope. The pronunciation of Worcester as "wooste" might be called "syncope".
Sounds getting crushed out is a very typical phenomenon of English because of the stress-timed rhythm of the language. Famous example: "Emma Chissit?" for "How much is it?"
2. Initialisms are spoken as individual letters. USA and BBC are initialisms. Nato, Unesco are not because you pronounce these 'letterwords' as single words. Which of these terms is a correct synonym for an initialism?

Answer: Alphabetism

Letterwords that are pronounced as single words are acronyms. A blend is a word that is made out of the shortened forms of two other words. Sm(oke) + (f)og = smog. Literalism might be used as a term for a (too) literal translation. You might also speak of 'literalism' when people take the text of the Bible (e.g. the Book of Genesis) as a literal truth.
3. When you use the word Cologne for Koeln in Germany then you are using the non-local version of a place name. Same applies to Milan for Milano, Prague for Praha, The Hague for Den Haag; etc. What is the linguistic name for such a NON-local version of a place name?

Answer: Exonym

An allonym is the name of an existing person or historical person assumed by a writer - for example, if you choose to use R.Nixon as your webname. In a wider sense an exonym is any name by which one people or social group refers to another and by which the group so named does not refer to itself.

A name such as Wales, Welsh originally was an exonym because it's the name given by the Germanic invaders to the original 'Welsh' population and was from the Roman point of view tantamount to one group of 'barbarians' calling another group 'barbarians'.

In a similar way the Inuit have been called Eskimos. Anglicisms are English words used in another language. An excess of such anglicisms then may lead to 'protest-actions' from a select top layer of the language users who try to forbid the majority from doing what the majority always have been doing: picking up words from whatever wind direction the winds were blowing. Linguistic research has proved again and again that the man in the street takes little interest in what the authorities tell him to use as language.

The fight against 'le franglais' by the President of France, the French Academy, etc. is a luxury that most speakers of the French language won't miss their sleep for. In a similar way one might speak of Spanglish, Japlish, ...and Tex-Mex. Anglicanism: shall we say it tends to be the name used by the Catholic Church to refer to the Church of England when they want to suggest it's an aberration somewhat similar to an anglicism?
4. In Spanish and French an e is often added to words that in Latin began in sch, such as escuela and escole (later: ecole) for schola. What's the technical term for such an addition at the beginning of words?

Answer: Prothesis

Assimilation is when adjacent sounds influence each other so strongly that they become more alike. As-similare from ad-similare is itself a good example.
Boatswain being pronounced as 'bo'sun' is a good example of 'loss of sound or letters' from the middle of a word, or 'syncope'. So would Harwich, Greenwich, Gloucester and Worcester be, and also Italian donna from Latin domina, where first i is lost (domina becoming domna) and then the m of dom-na is assimilated to the following n.
Epenthesis refers to any inserted sound in any environment and is not the specific term for sounds inserted at the beginning of the word. It might, for example, also be applied to insertion in the middle of a word as in German Donner becoming donder in Dutch, thunder in English. In a similar way the Canadian pronunciation of film as fillem could be called an example of epenthetic e. Such examples of e between l and m or l and k had been described already by the Indian grammarian Panini in the seventh century before Christ. He called them svarabakhti-vowels. The Indian name for a 'colourless' 'dumb' e was schwa.
5. The German word for potatoes was originally Tartuffeln, related to tartufoli 'truffles'. The initial T became a K: Kartoffeln. Of what language change phenomenon is that an example?

Answer: Dissimilation

Latin 'noctem' becoming 'notte' is assimilation because 'k'(written as 'c' in Latin) becomes more similar to and is ultimately absorbed by the following 't'. In the Tartuffoli-Kartoffeln case the first T 'moves away from the following 't' and becomes a slightly different sound: K (guttural plosive) instead of T (dental plosive). Such evolutions always mean that only a small phonetic change takes place between two sounds that, apart from the little change, keep having a lot in common.

In order to pronounce a K rather than a T the point of tongue contact is moved from the teeth to the throat. In metathesis, two sounds change places mutually. Anglosaxon had 'dridda' as in German 'dritte'.

In English the i and the r change mutual positions kind of.

In same way, in the evolution from the older form for horse ('hros') to modern 'horse', r and o changed places.
6. It is it said by a famous 'linguistic law' that voiceless 'plosives' such as p, t, k in Latin or Greek will normally become voiceless 'fricatives' in English (f, th, ch). In other words pater, piscis become father, fish. Tres becomes three. Cornu, cor become horn, heart. Who 'discovered' this 'law' ?

Answer: Jakob Grimm

Jacob Grimm (1822) identified this process in his 'Germanic Grammar'. Karl Verner (1846-96), a Danish linguist, made a correction of Grimm's law and showed that it only worked for those words where p, t, k occurred in a stressed root syllable already in Sanskrit. Ferdinand de Saussure, a Swiss linguist (1857-1913), is mainly remembered for his 'Course in General Linguistics', and is, together with Franz Boas (1858-1942) ('Handbook of American Indian Languages' - 1911) and Edward Sapir ('Language'), a pioneer of modern linguistics. Noam Chomsky (born in 1928) formulated a generative theory of language leading to a single set of rules from which all the grammatical sentences in a language can be derived.
7. Which of these types of linguistics applies linguistic theories and methods to the analysis of disorders of spoken, written or signed language?

Answer: Clinical linguistics

Applied linguistics analyses NORMAL phenomenons and not disorders. Its main fields of 'application' are foreign language learning and teaching; lexicography; translation; stylistics. Neurolinguistics studies the neurological basis of language development and use in human beings, especially the brain's control over the processes of speech and understanding. Ethnolinguistics studies language in relation to ethnic types and behaviour, especially with reference to the way social interaction proceeds.
8. In language study various abbreviations are used to refer to certain specific types of language study. EIL is English as an International Language, used for purposes of international communication. EAP is English for Academic Purposes. EOP is English for Occupational Purposes. ESP refers to English for Special Purposes as contrasted to EGP, English for General Purposes. EFL is English as a Foreign Language. Which of the following terms and abbreviations is the only one that is correct for the language preferred by a user in a multilingual situation, whether it is the first acquired or not?

Answer: L1 or First Language

NNL speakers use a language other than their mother tongue. That might be their L1 or their L2 or their L3 etc. Many children of European immigrants have come to use U.S.A. English as their 'first language' though it was not the language which they learned first. USA English may NOT be their MT or NT but it is the language they prefer to use in a multilingual situation. So the term L1 comprehends both those users of the language who picked it up at home as those that did so at school, etc. as long as it is the language which they prefer to use whenever the situation allows of such an option.
9. Words may develop from a neutral meaning to a worse or a better meaning (villain, e.g., originally meant farm labourer) or from bad to neutral or less bad as 'mischievous' that developed from 'disastrous' to 'slightly annoying'. Words may also be reshaped because of popular misunderstanding such as (a) 'bride-goom' from bride + guma (man) into bridegroom (literally the bride's serving lad) or (b) asparagus being misnamed sparrow-grass. What is the correct name for such an evolution as in (a) or (b)?

Answer: Folk etymology

Amelioration would be a case such as 'revolutionary' which no longer has the exclusive meaning of 'undesirable overthrowing of the status quo' but also occurs as 'desirable novelty' in advertisers' language. Villain from serf working in a villa becoming the modern 'villain' is a pejoration or a deterioration.

It may be funny to notice but every time a 'bad word' is replaced by a so-called euphemism the process of deterioration usually leads to the novelty soon having an identical negative connotation.

When consumption began to sound too lugubrious it became tuberculosis, which in turn became TBC. But to the modern ear TBC sounds as horrendous as the old 'consumption'. A synonym for folk etymology is popular etymology. Usually folk etymology is the way in which the 'common man' comes to terms with what the upper class has introduced in the language as e.g. when French cotelettes were re-interpreted as cut-lets, nicely cut pieces.
10. Which of these terms refers to a type of fabricated and non-meaningful speech and is often when associated with a trance state as in the so-called 'speaking in tongues'?

Answer: Glossolalia

Baby-talk is the way in which adults try to 'adapt'(?) in their style of speech to babies. It usually implies radical changes in the phonetic structure of words, introduction of nonsense syllables, bizarre intonation and rhythm patterns, etc. Many pedagogues frown on this tendency of mothers to set their babies 'bad examples'. But who are pedagogues after all to dare to tell mums how to talk to their babies?
Pidgins are not real languages, they have a limited vocabulary, a reduced grammatical structure and a narrow range of functions. They grow up among people who do not share a common language and are used as a kind of 'limited contact language'. Tourist linguistic guides may function as 'pidgins'.
Gobbledegook is official, professional and pretentious jargon as when you call a killing 'unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of life'. It soon becomes 'doublespeak' as in 'collateral damage' for 'civilians killed in a war'.

When spoken by schizophrenics, glossolalia is recognized as gibberish. In charismatic Christian communities it is considered sacred. It should be stressed that the "tongues of fire" mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles allowed the Apostles to speak in their own language and be understood by foreigners from several different languages. Glossolalics, however speak in a foreign language but are understood by nobody. So the association with "speaking in tongues" should be treated cautiously.
Source: Author flem-ish

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