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Study Guide


(1) Describe the concept of a “socio-linguistic variable” and “hypercorrection” using the distribution of [r] vs. [a] in Labov’s New York City department store study, and Labov’s study of the distribution of [r] vs. [a] in style-sifting. In doing so, be sure to clearly define the concepts and cite actual data provided.

(2) Use the data on the verb “keep” to explain the concept of a “semantic schema/template” and “polysemy.” Then, explain how “conceptual metaphor” also plays a role in creating polysemy. Be sure to refer to this specific data set and examples.

(7) Using examples from the book and the Human Language Series DVD (part 2) explain in clear terms the basic idea behind Noam Chomsky’s idea of “Universal Grammar.” Give two examples of the reasoning used to support his idea.

(8) Using clear examples, explain the concepts of “parsing” and “garden path sentence,” and how they give us insight into the process of reading comprehension. In doing so, be sure to include an explanation of how the “surface” of the sentence is different from the “underlying/hidden” syntactic relations.

(9) Explain why the simplistic notion of noun as “person, place, thing or abstract idea,” or verb as “action word is inaccurate and misleading, What is a more accurate way to characterize and identify the class of nouns and verbs?

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