Linguistics: An Introduction

By William B. McGregor

 

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Test: 11 — Unity and Diversity in Language Structure


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1) There is no limit on the variation that is possible within human languages.



2) A sample of 200 languages represents a better basis for doing typological linguistics than a sample of 50 languages.




3) Which of the following is not an implicational universal? (Note that you are not asked whether or not they are valid, just whether they are implicational universals.)





4) Which of the following is a non-absolute universal? (Note that you are not asked whether or not they are valid universals.)





5) Which of the following implicational universals is better formulated as a non-implicational universal:






6) Based on your knowledge of linguistics, which of the following is least likely to be an absolute universal?





7) Based on the data shown in the following figure, which of the generalisations below is not valid? (Each balloon represents a different language.)
Figure: Word Order






8) Based on the data in the figure in Question 7, is it the case that languages have initial subjects if and only if they have postpositions?



9) Based on the data shown in the following figure, which of the generalisations below is valid?
Figure: Word order 2






10) Based on the data in the above figure, is it true that languages have prepositions if and only if the verb precedes the object?



11) Which type of language is characterised by morphologically complex words in which it is not easy to separate morphemes from one another?





12) Given that təwalamnagʔak means 'I sharpened the knife' in Chukchee, what morphological type would you expect this language to be?





13) If three number distinctions are marked on nouns in a language by inflections, which category will normally be the unmarked one?




14) In a language that distinguishes number inflectionally on nouns, if an irregular noun does not make the distinction, which regular form is the irregular noun most likely to resemble?



15) Which of the following is not normally a feature of the unmarked category in an opposition?





16) Is it true that the unmarked category in an opposition tends to be found most frequently across languages?



17) Supposing that the following hierarchy accounts for the use of alienable and inalienable possessive constructions cross-linguistically, which end would you expect inalienable possession to extend out from?



18) If in a given language we find that kin are treated as alienable possessions, what does the above hierarchy indicate about clothing?




19) If in a given language we find that kin are treated as inalienable possessions, what does the above hierarchy indicate about clothing?




20) Supposing that body part nouns in a given language were treated as inalienable (if attached to people or aninmals) or alienable (if detached or amputated), and all other nouns as alienable, what modification would you make to the hierarchy of Question 17?




21) Which case is normally unmarked in ergative-absolutive case systems?




22) Is it true that in the majority of fixed word order languages S precedes O.



23) Which of the following case-marking systems is inconsistent with Silverstein's hierarchy?







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Updated: Feb. 11, 2009