Quiz about Sociolinguistics
Quiz about Sociolinguistics

Sociolinguistics Trivia Quiz


Let's see how much you know about the subfield of Sociolinguistics.

A multiple-choice quiz by innate13. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
innate13
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
358,265
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
1138
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 176 (5/10), TheSniff (9/10), Guest 103 (2/10).
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. Sociolinguistics is most appropriately defined as which of these? Hint

The study of human behavior
The scientific study of vocal sounds
The study of animal vocalizations
The scientific study of language usage

2. The linguistic term "code-switching" refers to which of the following? Hint

The use of jargon within a language
A speaker's use of more than one language, dialect or register in an utterance or interaction
A type of cryptology
Using a secret or exclusive language in certain circumstances

3. A person who speaks three languages fluently is most properly referred to by which of these terms? Hint

Multilingual
Extralingual
Magnalingual
Bilingual

4. Which of the following would NOT be considered a part of sociolinguistics? Hint

The study of the sounds in spoken language
The general perception of a dialect within a society
The study of the attitudes of people towards certain speech characteristics
The study of socioeconomic and/or political power factors and their influence on language change.

5. Which of the following is NOT a dialect of English? Hint

RP, or "BBC" English
Boston Brahmin
Gullah
Pennsylvania Dutch

6. Which of the following languages was not widely spread as a result of colonialism? Hint

French
Spanish
English
Swedish

7. While the United States has no official language, the de facto language of government is English. Of the following, which is the closest to the number of languages spoken as a native language (mother tongue) by natural-born citizens of the United States? Hint

2
100
5
300

8. English is most closely related to which of the following languages? Hint

Latin
French
Norse
Frisian

9. To what does the term "lingua franca" refer? Hint

Speaking French
A shared language primarily used for business, education or political reasons.
Speaking bluntly or directly
A dialect spoken in the Franconian region of Germany

10. "Pidgin" most closely refers to: Hint

An extinct Native American language
A language group in central Africa
People who speak multiple dialects
A rudimentary language used primarily for business/trade interactions


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Sociolinguistics is most appropriately defined as which of these?

Answer: The scientific study of language usage

Sociolinguistics is the scientific study of language use in society. Popular areas of study include dialects or dialectology; bilingualism and multilingualism; and language and gender.
2. The linguistic term "code-switching" refers to which of the following?

Answer: A speaker's use of more than one language, dialect or register in an utterance or interaction

Code-switching is an area of study within sociolinguistics that has become more prominent with the advent of mass globalization. Code-switching is common among populations that speak two or more languages. However, code-switching does not necessarily mean using multiple languages within an utterance or conversation, it can also entail using two or more dialects and/or registers.
3. A person who speaks three languages fluently is most properly referred to by which of these terms?

Answer: Multilingual

In sociolinguistics two terms are acceptable for a person who speaks more than one language fluently: bilingual and multilingual. However, since bilingual is somewhat misleading if someone speaks more than two languages fluently, multilingual is the most proper label.
4. Which of the following would NOT be considered a part of sociolinguistics?

Answer: The study of the sounds in spoken language

The study of the interaction between sounds in spoken language is referred to as phonology, which is itself a proper subset of linguistics. Phonetics refers to the sounds present in spoken language. While both are important to sociolinguistic scholarship, neither is central to the subject. Sociolinguistics is mostly concerned with the study of why language is used in a particular manner, or why it has changed from a previous accepted norm to the current norm.
5. Which of the following is NOT a dialect of English?

Answer: Pennsylvania Dutch

Despite the misleading name, Pennsylvania Dutch is a dialect of German, or more properly Low German (Plattdeutsch). The "Dutch" part comes from the mis-application of the English prounciation of "Deutsch" (German) into American English orthography as "Dutch". However, Dutch is a separate, but closely related language, spoken in The Netherlands (or Holland) and parts of Belgium.

RP or "BBC" English is the standardized version of English spoken in the UK. Gullah (sometimes referred to as Geechie or Gullah/Geechie) is a dialect of English spoken on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. (Some might consider Gullah/Geechie to be a creole language rather than a dialect, with significant arguments to support such a claim.) Boston Brahmin is a dialect spoken by a small group of upper-class Bostonians.
6. Which of the following languages was not widely spread as a result of colonialism?

Answer: Swedish

While all political powers have at one time or another spread their language through exploration, the best answer is Swedish. The French, English and Spanish spread their languages to far corners of the world during the period of European colonization (circa 1500-1900).
7. While the United States has no official language, the de facto language of government is English. Of the following, which is the closest to the number of languages spoken as a native language (mother tongue) by natural-born citizens of the United States?

Answer: 300

There are over 300 separate languages spoken by natural-born citizens of the United States. Many are familiar, such as Spanish, Italian and German. However, the US has rather large pockets of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Taglog etc. speakers.

The number is driven higher by the number of indigenous languages still spoken, such as the Athabascan languages (i.e. the Inuit languages in Alaska), and other languages such as Cherokee and Navajo.
8. English is most closely related to which of the following languages?

Answer: Frisian

English is a Germanic language. While French has had an enormous influence on the lexicon of English (thanks to the Norman invasion of 1066, and further through French political and social influence over centuries), Frisian, a nearly extinct Germanic language, is considered the closest relative of English per linguistic genetics. German, with 100-150 million native speakers worldwide has the second-most speakers of a Germanic language after English.

However it is not the closest relative of English. Standard German of today is based on Old High German (OHG).

The "high" refers to altitude, not latitude (or even prestige, although coincidentally the prestigious connotation of "high" is appropriate for sociolinguistic considerations). Contemporary German therefore stems from the dialects of the southern part of Germany (i.e. around Bavaria, or the highlands), while low German (Plattdeutsch), along the same argument, stems from the lowlands, or the northern areas of Germany.

The dialects of the north separated into Dutch, Frisian and English as Teutonic tribes migrated westward. Frisian is the bridge of sorts between English and Low German/Dutch speakers. German diverged as a standard language based on OHG's relatively distant proximity to the the North Sea (and Martin Luther's choice to translate the Bible from Latin into a High German dialect), and therefore German diverged from Dutch, Frisian and English. Dutch is therefore the closest non-endangered language relative of English, followed somewhat distantly by German. Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic are the other major surviving Germanic languages. French, a Romance language, is closely related to Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and the nearly extinct Romansch language spoken in Switzerland.
9. To what does the term "lingua franca" refer?

Answer: A shared language primarily used for business, education or political reasons.

A "lingua franca" is a mutually understood language between two or more groups who do not share a native language. The term originates from Roman Empire era Europe when Latin was the language of religion, scholarship and international (or inter-societal) relations. During the Roman Empire, most of Europe north of Rome was considered Frankish (or Franconian), hence "lingua franca" literally means Frankish language, most likely referring to some point in a dialectal continuum between Roman Latin and various other dialects of Latin (dialects that have diverged into the Romance languages such as Romanian, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese). Latin, therefore, was a lingua franca, but only among a small portion of society beyond Rome, namely Roman Catholic monks and other converts of high social status.

In modern times, the term means any language that is shared between two or more groups that do not share the same native language. English is currently the most common lingua franca between people, however any language can be used as a lingua franca. French, Spanish and Russian are all prominent lingua franca in addition to English. Geography and political factors heavily factor into the lingua franca of a given area. For example, former Soviet block countries used Russian as a lingua franca before the collapse of the Soviet Union. English is the primary lingua franca of western Europe. Spanish is the primary lingua franca for most Central and South American countries where many speak various indigenous languages.
10. "Pidgin" most closely refers to:

Answer: A rudimentary language used primarily for business/trade interactions

A pidgin language is a language used almost exclusively for economic purposes between two or more groups of people who do not share a common language (such as a lingua franca). Pidgins lack the syntactic complexity of a natural language or a creole language, and instead are heavily focused on nouns and the most basic verbs. Adjectives, adverbs and other more nuanced elements of natural languages are generally sparse or non-existent.
Source: Author innate13

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