Quiz about Basic linguistics
Quiz about Basic linguistics

How much do you know about Basic linguistics? | Quiz


This quiz tries to give a taste of linguistics by presenting some of the basic problems.

A multiple-choice quiz by nyul. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
nyul
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
298,804
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
2164
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: buckeye52 (3/10), Guest 166 (10/10), Guest 111 (9/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Which part of linguistics deals with the study of meanings of the lexical entries, expressions, and sentences of a certain language? Hint

logic
semiotics
semantics
syntax

2. A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of a language. According to that definition, how many morphemes can be found in the word "imperfections"? Hint

3
4
2
5

3. "Right" and "write", "lead" and "lead", and "well" and "well" are, respectively, what? Hint

homonyms, homophones and homographs.
homographs, homomorphs and homophones.
homomorphs, homophones and homographs.
homophones, homographs and homonyms.

4. What is a 'pidgin'? Hint

It is a common language developed by a group of people who do not have a language in common.
It's a sacred language used by Siberian shamans.
That's Scottish English for 'pidgeon'.
It is a Chinese character.

5. Which one of these is NOT a linguistic theory or a theory of language? Hint

structural linguistics
cognitive linguistics
generative grammar
Indo-European linguistics

6. What can the following newspaper title (not necessarily properly punctuated) mean?

"Child teaching expert to speak."
Hint

A child teaches an expert to speak.
A child-teaching expert is going to speak.
Neither of these
Either of these

7. "I don't want nothing."

The above sentence is a case of what phenomenon?

Hint

double negative
prepositional phrase (PP)
ergative
reductio ad absurdum

8. "A verb is an expression that refers to an action, or a state of being." What is wrong with that definition? Hint

Neither of these.
Nouns can also refer to actions or states of being, eg. "action", "existence", "theft".
Both of these.
The definition does not cover all verbs eg. modal auxiliairies: "can", "must", "might"

9. In linguistics, what is called the "critical age"? Hint

The age at which children start to speak.
The age after which children lose the ability of rapid language acquisition.
The age when children start to criticise their parents' language use.
The age after which children are allowed to learn foreign languages too.

10. If "un-" in "unbelievable" is a prefix, and "-ity" in "serenity" is a suffix, then which of these is a circumfix? Hint

"-age" in French "voisinage" (neighbourhood)
"ge...t" in German "gespielt"
"-ma" in "sophistimacated"
"re-" in French and English "reprendre" and "retake"


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Which part of linguistics deals with the study of meanings of the lexical entries, expressions, and sentences of a certain language?

Answer: semantics

Semiotics deals with the study of signs, syntax with sentences and logic with the correct rules of deduction.
2. A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of a language. According to that definition, how many morphemes can be found in the word "imperfections"?

Answer: 4

The four morphemes are:

im- perfect - ion - s

Let's have a look at how it works. Starting out from the adjective 'perfect', by adding the suffix '-ion' to it, we get the noun 'perfection'. Now, if we add the prefix 'im-', we'll still have a noun: 'imperfection', but meaning exactly the opposite of 'perfection'. Finally, by adding '-s', the mark of the plural, we'll get 'imperfections' meaning 'more than one thing that is not perfect'.
3. "Right" and "write", "lead" and "lead", and "well" and "well" are, respectively, what?

Answer: homophones, homographs and homonyms.

In Greek 'homo' means 'same', 'graph' means 'write', 'phone' means 'sound', and 'nym' means 'name'.

Homophones are words that are pronounced the same way, homographs are words that are spelled the same way, and homonyms are the ones that are both spelled and pronounced the same way (that is, they are homophones and homographs at the same time).
4. What is a 'pidgin'?

Answer: It is a common language developed by a group of people who do not have a language in common.

Pidgin languages do have a very simple grammatical and phonological structure. Historically, they have arisen in trading situations or in places where people from many backgrounds were thrown together.
5. Which one of these is NOT a linguistic theory or a theory of language?

Answer: Indo-European linguistics

Indo-European linguistics deals with languages belonging to the Indo-European language family. The comparative study of Indo-European languages and their history was at the focus of 19th century linguistic researches in the Western world, and has contributed a great deal to the development of modern day linguistics.
6. What can the following newspaper title (not necessarily properly punctuated) mean? "Child teaching expert to speak."

Answer: Either of these

This is a case of structural ambiguity: the meaning of the sentence depends on which constituents you group together. "(Child-teaching expert) Noun Phrase which should really be hyphenated (to speak) Verb Phrase" or "(Child) Noun Phrase (teaching expert to speak) Verb Phrase". The peculiar style of English newspaper titles also adds to the ambiguity of sense.
7. "I don't want nothing." The above sentence is a case of what phenomenon?

Answer: double negative

Double negatives are considered grammatically incorrect in today's standard English. However this wasn't the case until the 17th century, when prescriptive grammars became popular. These works deemed double negation as illogical, based on the laws of logic (see double negative elimination).

However, double negatives are perfectly common in Romance and Slavic languages, as well as in both modern and ancient Greek, Hungarian, Finnish and Japanese.
8. "A verb is an expression that refers to an action, or a state of being." What is wrong with that definition?

Answer: Both of these.

Definitions of lexical categories based on their meaning can be misleading; instead it may be better rely on syntactic and morphological criteria. For example, verbs are the types of lexical items that can have inflections.
9. In linguistics, what is called the "critical age"?

Answer: The age after which children lose the ability of rapid language acquisition.

If a child is not exposed to a language before the critical age, they will find it much more difficult to acquire a language fully. It is very unlikely that they ever be able to speak any language on a level comparable to that of a native speaker.
10. If "un-" in "unbelievable" is a prefix, and "-ity" in "serenity" is a suffix, then which of these is a circumfix?

Answer: "ge...t" in German "gespielt"

Circumfixes are extremely common in Malay and in Georgian, but some cases of them exist in other languages too. In German and Dutch it's a way of forming the past participle, in Berber the circumfix "t...t" is a mark of the feminine, and in Hungarian the superlative is formed by the circumfix "leg...bb".
Source: Author nyul

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