Linguistics Assignments

Exercise 2

August 17, 2018

Instructions: Consider the following sentences. Put a star (*) after those that do not seem to conform to the rules of your grammar, that are ungrammatical for you. State, if you can, why you think the sentence is ungrammatical.

a. * Robin forced the sheriff go.
I think this sentence is wrong because “to” needs to go between “sheriff” and “go” so it reads “Robin forced the sheriff to go.”

b. Napoleon forced Josephine to go.

c. The devil made Faust go.

d. He passed by a large pile of money.

e. He drove by my house.

f. * He drove my house by.
“By” should not be at the end of the sentence.

g. * Did in a corner little Jack Horner sit?
I think that the sentence should read “Did little Jack Horner sit in a corner?”

h. Elizabeth is resembled by Charles.

i. Nancy is eager to please.

j. It is easy to frighten Emily.

k. It is eager to love a kitten.

l. * That birds can fly flabbergasts.
This sentence doesn’t say who or what becomes flabbergasted.

m. The fact that you are late to class is surprising.

n. Has the nurse slept the baby yet?

o. I was surprised for you to get married.

p. * I wonder who and Mary went swimming.
“Who and Mary” doesn’t sound correct.

q. * Myself bit John.
Using “myself” sounds off in this sentence. It could possibly be replaced with “I bit John.”

r. What did Alice eat the toadstool with?

s. * What did Alice eat the toadstool and?
A sentence that ends with “and” feels incomplete and therefore incorrect.

Grade received: 100%

Exercise 3

August 25, 2018

Instructions: Divide the following words by placing a 1 between their morphemes. (Some of the words may be monomorphemic and therefore indivisible.)
Example: replaces = re + place + s

a. retroactive

b. befriended

c. televise

d. margin

e. endearment

f. psychology

g. unpalatable

h. holiday

i. grandmother

j. morphemic

k. mistreatment

l. deactivation

m. saltpeter

n. airsickness

o. bureaucrat

p. democrat

q. aristocrat

r. plutocrat

s. democracy

t. democratic

u. democratically

v. democratization

w. democratize

x. democratizer

y. democratizing

z. democratized

Grade received: 100%

Exercise 4

August 25, 2018

Instructions: Match each expression under A with the one statement under B that characterizes it.

 A                                            B

a. noisy crow                      (3) phrase consisting of adjective plus noun

b. scarecrow                       (1) compound noun

c. the crow                          (6) grammatical morpheme followed by lexical morpheme

d. crowlike                          (5) root morpheme plus derivational suffix

e. crows                               (4) root morpheme plus inflectional affix

Grade received: 100%

Exercise 5

August 25, 2018

Instructions: Write the one proper description from the list under B for the italicized part of each word in A.

 A                                            B

a. terrorized                       (3) inflectional suffix

b. uncivilized                      (1) free root

c. terrorize                          (4) derivational suffix

d. lukewarm                       (2) bound root

e. impossible                      (6) derivational prefix

Grade received: 100%

Exercise 6

August 25, 2018

Part One:
Consider the following nouns in Zulu and proceed to look for the recurring forms.

umfazi “married woman” abafazi “married women”

umfani “boy” abafani “boys”

umzali “parent” abazali “parents”

umfundisi “teacher” abafundisi “teachers”

umbazi “carver” ababazi “carvers”

umlimi “farmer” abalimi “farmers”

umdlali “player” abadlali “players”

umfundi “reader” abafundi “readers”

a. What is the morpheme meaning “singular” in Zulu?
The morpheme for singular is “um”.

b. What is the morpheme meaning “plural” in Zulu?
The morpheme for plural is “aba”.

c. List the Zulu stems to which the singular and plural morphemes are attached, and give their meanings.

Fazi- married woman
Fani- boy
Zali- parent
Fundisi- teacher
Bazi- carver
Limi- farmer
Dlali- player
Fundi- reader

Part Two:
The following Zulu verbs are derived from noun stems by adding a verbal suffix.

fundisa “to teach” funda “to read”

lima “to cultivate” baza “to carve”

d. Compare these words to the words in section A that are related in meaning, for example, umfundisi “teacher,” abafundisi “teachers,” fun-disa “to teach.” What is the derivational suffix that specifies the category verb?

The suffix is “a”.

e. What is the nominal suffix (i.e., the suffix that forms nouns)?

The suffix is “i”.

f. State the morphological noun formation rule in Zulu.
The morphological noun formation rule is “um” + a noun + “i” + (singular) aba + a noun + (plural)

g. What is the stem morpheme meaning “read”?
The stem morpheme is “fund”.

h. What is the stem morpheme meaning “carve”?

The ssteme morpheme is “baz”.

Grade received: 100%

Exercise 7

September 2, 2018

Part 1:
Paraphrase each of the following sentences in two ways to show that you understand the ambiguity involved:
Example: Smoking grass can be nauseating.

i. Putting grass in a pipe and smoking it can make you sick.
ii. Fumes from smoldering grass can make you sick.

a. Dick finally decided on the boat.
Dick decided to purchase the boat he had been looking at.
Dick, after much debate, finally agreed to buy the boat.

b. The professor’s appointment was shocking.
At the appointment, the professor was shocked.
The results of the appointment were a shock to the professor.

c. The design has big squares and circles.
Large squares and circles made up the design.
The design contained both large circles and large squares.

d. That sheepdog is too hairy to eat.
That sheepdog’s hair prevents it from eating.
The sheepdog cannot eat because its hair keeps getting in the way,

e. Could this be the invisible mans hair tonic?
Is this bottle the hair tonic of the invisible man?
Does that hair tonic belong to the invisible man?

f. The governor is a dirty street fighter.
A dirty street fighter in this city is the governor.
The governor is not only a street fighter, but he fights dirty.

g. I cannot recommend him too highly.
I can’t say a lot of good things about him.
I can’t give you great feedback about him.

h. Terry loves his wife and so do I.
Terry and I love his wife.
Terry’s wife is loved by him and I both.

i. They said she would go yesterday.
According to the group, she was supposed to go yesterday.
She claimed she would go yesterday, and they confirmed it.

j. No smoking section available.
There’re no smoking places here.
Smoking sections aren’t open.

k. We will dry clean your clothes in 24 hours.
Within 24 hours, we will dry clean your clothes.
Dry cleaning your clothes is easy and can be done in 24 hours.

l. I bought cologne for my boyfriend containing 25% alcohol.
The cologne I bought my boyfriend has 25% alcohol in it.
There’s 25% alcohol in the cologne I got my boyfriend.

m. The new magazine has between one and two billion readers.
With already one to two billion readers, this new magazine is becoming successful.
That new magazine already has over one billion readers.

Part 2: Here are two examples where structural ambiguities lead to humorous results.
For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
We will oil your sewing machine and adjust tension in your home for $10.00.

Using square brackets to delineate constituents, explained the ambiguity and the resulting humor of these two sentences by doing a constituent analysis.
a. [For sale: an antique desk]. The original sentence, to avoid humor, could have been phrased “For sale: an antique desk with thick legs and large drawers. Suitable for ladies.” Instead, the sentence sounds as though the “thick legs and large drawers” is describing how the lady physically looks.

b. [We will oil your sewing machine and adjust tension]. By adding “in your home for $10.00”, it makes it sounds as though they will adjust the tension in the home rather than adjusting the sewing machine tension.

Grade received: 100%

Exercise 8

September 16, 2018


  1. Write the phonetic symbol for the first sound in each of the following words according to the way you pronounce it.
    Example: ooze [u]                                                                            psycho [s]
    a. judge [g]
    b. Thomas [t]
    c. though [th]
    d. easy [e]
    e. pneumonia [n]
    f. thought [th]
    g. contact [k]
    h. phone [f]
    i. civic [s]
    j. usual [j]
  • Write the phonetic symbol for the last sound in each of the following words.
    Example: boy [ɔɪ] (Diphthongs should be treated as one sound.)
    a. fleece [s]
    b. neigh [I]
    c. long [n]
    d. health [θ]
    e. watch [tʃ]
    f. cow [aw]
    g. rough [f]
    h. cheese [z]
    i. bleached [t]
    j. rags [z]

Grade received: 100%

Exercise 9

September 24, 2018

  1. True story:  My very pregnant wife realized that she had left some important papers at the 24-hour Kinkos while we were studying at Purdue University in Indiana.  Unfortunately, she sent me to retrieve the item at 2:00 am.  As I was driving, it occurred to me that we do not pronounce Kinkos as [ k i n k o s ] but rather [ k i ŋ k o s ].  As I kept driving, I realized that we don’t pronounce “bingo” as [ b i n g o ] but rather as [ b i ŋ g o ].  There is a phonological rule going on here.  What is it? Think about was sort of sound comes after the [ ŋ ] in kinko and bingo.

In Kinkos and bingo, we don’t pronounce the “n”. This is the homorganic nasal rule which changes the pronunciation of nasal consonants.

2)  Children’s developing phonology: If we give a child a made-up word like “rick” and ask him/her to make it past tense. He/she will do so by adding a [ t ] at the end. Why?  Also, recall from the home work that we do not say bleached with a final [ d ] but rather bleached with a final [ t ].  What is the phonological rule here?  

The “-ed” that is put on the end of the word makes the [t] sound. It’s rule 2 of a plural, which is to change the past-tense morpheme to a voiceless [t] when a voiceless sound precedes it.

3)  How do children know to add an [ s ]  [ ə z ]  or [ z ] to a plural?

As they hear adults around them speak, they start to pick up on it. It’s exposure.

4)  Why do most Americans pronounce write with a [ t ] sound, but the / t / in writer becomes [ ɾ ]? (Remember the [ ɾ ] symbols represents a sound very close to / d /.)

 It’s an effect called consonant harmony that occurs in rapid speech.

Exercise 10

October 28, 2018

Instructions: Below are some words used in British English for which different words are usually used in American English. See whether you can match the British and American equivalents.

British                                                                   American

a. clothes peg                                                     suspenders

b. braces                                                               potato chips

c. lift                                                                      elevator

d. pram                                                                baby buggy

e. waistcoat                                                         wake up

f. shop assistant                                                 can

g. sweets                                                             candy

h. boot (of car)                                                   truck

i. bobby                                                                cop

j. spanner                                                            wrench

k. biscuits                                                            crackers

l. queue                                                                 line

m. torch                                                               flashlight

n. underground                                                 vacation

o. high street                                                     main street

You overhear somebody say, “That’s not a language, it’s a dialect.” Compose a brief retort.

A dialect is just a distinct way of speaking, which doesn’t make it it’s own language. A dialect is still part of that original language. When a dialect is so different that people of that original language can no longer understand, then it becomes its own language.

Grade received: 100%

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