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Chapter 06: Language
Multiple Choice
1. Belgium is a ___________ speaking country.
a) Belgae (a Celtic language)
b) Flemish (a Germanic language)
c) French (a Romance language)
d) both B and C
2. Which of the following European countries has a rather sharp division between Flemish
speakers in the north and Walloon speakers in the south?
a) the Netherlands
b) Belgium
c) Denmark
d) Andorra
3. From 1960 to 1980, the changing ethnic composition of South Central Los Angeles is best
described as:
a) less diverse.
b) more diverse.
c) Asian dominated.
d) Hispanic dominated.
4. The French government has _________ to protect French language and culture.
a) banned foreign words in advertising and on radio and television
b) established the Académie Française to standardize the language
c) passed a law levying fines on those using foreign terms
d) all of the above
5. The crucial element in language is
a) vocabulary.
b) grammar.
c) alphabet.
d) vocalization.
6. Hawaii and Louisiana are examples of states with
a) no linguistic variation.
b) official “English only” policies.
c) official bilingual policies.
d) no official language policies.
7. Which is not true of Quebec?
a) Peoples of the north speak Algonquin and Inuit languages.
b) The P.Q. passed laws banning or controlling the use non-French languages in advertising.
c) Quebec contains areas dominated by non-French speaking minorities.
d) It is almost 100% French speaking.
8. ____ of internet content is in English.
a) 12%
b) 27%
c) 68%
d) 82%
9. In 2000, which States had several countries where 60% or more of the people five years and
older spoke a language other than English?
a) Texas and California
b) Texas and New Mexico
c) New York and California
d) New York and Alabama
10. In technically advanced societies there is likely to be
a) a standard language.
b) many basic languages.
c) limited expansion of language.
d) standard pronunciation.
11. Standard Italian is the version of the language spoken in
a) Florence and Tuscany.
b) Italy north of Venice.
c) Sicily.
d) Rome.
12. Dialects are most often marked by actual differences in
a) accents.
b) pronunciation.
c) vocabulary.
d) syntax.
13. A geographic boundary within which a particular linguistic feature occurs is called
a) an isogloss.
b) a sound shift.
c) an international border.
d) a cultural boundary.
14. Which of the following pairs of languages are not mutually intelligible?
a) Urdu and Hindi
b) Danish and Norwegian
c) Serbian and Croatian
d) German and Dutch
15. In Illinois, people who want a soft drink with their hamburger are likely to order a
a) soda.
b) pop.
c) Coke.
d) Pepsi.
16. There are ___ principal language families of the world.
a) 10
b) 15
c) 20
d) 25
17. The most widely used Indo-European language today is
a) English.
b) German.
c) Spanish.
d) Chinese.
18. The language most widely used as a second language by hundreds of millions of people in
India, Africa and elsewhere is
a) Spanish.
b) French.
c) Arabic.
d) English.
19. The predominant languages spoken on Madagascar are not of an African language family,
but belong to
a) Indo-European family.
b) Sino-Tibetan family.
c) Dravidian family.
d) Austronesian family.
20. Latin octo (eight) became Italian otto, Spanish ocho, and French huit. This is an example of
____________ over time in a language family.
a) deterioration
b) sound shift
c) dialect development
d) isogloss shift
21. Persian, Pashto and Baluchi are all part of the __________ branch of the language tree.
a) Indic
b) Baltic
c) Iranian
d) Greek
22. Two Russian scholars have established the core of what they believe is a pre-Proto-IndoEuropean language named
a) Nostratic.
b) Anatolian.
c) Etruscan.
d) Austronesian.
23. The language tree diagram of language divergence has some branches with dead ends. These
represent
a) standardized or non-changing languages.
b) language subfamilies.
c) isolated languages.
d) extinct languages.
24. The Proto-Indo-European language homeland lies somewhere north of the
a) Mediterranean Sea.
b) Baltic Sea.
c) Black Sea.
d) Sea of Okhotsk.
25. The two theories of the Proto-Indo-European language dispersal are the conquest theory and
a) the spread of agriculture.
b) massive migration.
c) extensive trade routes.
d) missionary activity.
26. The Indo-European language family prevails on the map of Europe. Which country listed
below has a language which is not in the Indo-European family?
a) France
b) Italy
c) Iceland
d) Hungary
27. Subsequent migrations and empire building caused the decline and marginalization of this
subfamily which had brought Indo-European languages to Europe 3,000 years ago.
a) Romance
b) Germanic
c) Celtic
d) Turkic
28. Brittany in western France shows the persistence of Breton in the _____ subfamily.
a) Romance
b) Germanic
c) Celtic
d) Slavic
29. Bantu migrations marginalized this once widespread African language family which now is
found only in dry regions of southwestern Africa.
a) Niger-Congo family
b) Khoisan family
c) Afro-Asiatic family
d) Sudanic Subfamily
30. The linguistic map of Nigeria reflects extreme fragmentation with nearly ____ languages
spoken.
a) 15
b) 25
c) 200
d) 400
31. Nigeria chose __________ as its official language upon independence.
a) northern Hausa
b) southwestern Yoruba
c) southeastern Ibo
d) English
32. Which development helped with the rise of national languages beginning in the fourteenth
century?
a) invention of the printing press
b) agricultural revolution
c) Celtic migrations
d) fall of the Roman Empire
33. A language that is the product of a process of convergence which allows speakers of two or
more languages to communicate is
a) a standardized language.
b) a common language.
c) a lingua franca.
d) a lingua germanica.
34. English is to lingua franca as _____________ is to pidgin language.
a) French
b) Creole
c) Portuguese
d) Chinese
35. Convergence processes yielding a synthesis of several languages produce a pidgin language.
When this language becomes the first language of a population it is referred to as a
a) dialect.
b) creole language.
c) language subfamily.
d) lingua franca.
36. Official languages such as Spanish and Quechuan in Peru or English and Pilipino in the
Philippines reflect
a) linguist divergence.
b) the country’s history.
c) creolization.
d) linguas franca.
37. Monolingual countries, in which only one language is spoken, are few in number. Which of
the following is not one of these countries?
a) Poland
b) Japan
c) Lesotho
d) Argentina
38. Countries in which more than one language are in use are called
a) multilingual.
b) monolingual.
c) unilingual.
d) non-lingual.
39. In an attempt to deal with linguistic as well as cultural diversity, many former African
colonies have taken as their official language
a) the most widely-spoken indigenous language.
b) an Austronesian and therefore neutral language.
c) the language of the former colonial power.
d) an invented language with no historical connections.
40. The systematic study of the origin and meaning of place names is called
a) deep reconstruction.
b) namology.
c) toponymy.
d) lexicography.
41. Clusters of French toponyms in Louisiana, Dutch toponyms in Michigan and Welsh
toponyms in Pennsylvania reflect
a) descriptive toponyms.
b) folk toponyms.
c) commemorative toponyms.
d) the shift of names associated with migration.
42. Leopoldville, Congo becomes Kinshasa and Salisbury, Zimbabwe becomes Harare. These
are examples of
a) colonial toponyms.
b) descriptive toponyms.
c) migration effects.
d) post-colonial toponyms.
43. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Leningrad was renamed
a) Yeltsinburg.
b) Misk.
c) New Leninburg.
d) St. Petersburg.
44. The greatest concentration of streets memorializing Martin Luther King are found in:
a) the West
b) the Northeast, particularly Massachusetts
c) the Midwest, especially Illinois
d) the South, especially Georgia
45. The naming of sports stadiums and other facilities for corporations (e.g. Petco Park FedEx
Field, Coors Field) is an example of
a) hubris.
b) memorial toponyms.
c) commodification.
d) post-modern toponyms.
46. When African colonies became independent countries, one of the first acts of many of the
new governments was to
a) conduct a census.
b) build a new capital city.
c) change the names of places that had been named after colonial figures.
d) build new road systems.
True/False
47. The Basquen language, Euskera, is spoken only in Spain.
48. Bulgarians speak a Slavic language.
49. The predominantly French-speaking capital city of Belgium (Brussels) is located in the
Flemish-speaking northern area of the country.
50. American, Canadian, and Russian governments have all worked to insure the preservation of
minority native languages within their borders.
51. Mandarin, the language in and around the Chinese capital Beijing, was chosen as the
standardized form of Chinese for the whole country.
52. Even if the written form of a statement adheres to a standard language, the accent of a person
who reads it will reveal their regional home.
53. The criteria of mutual intelligibility as determinative of the difference between a dialect and a
language is accepted by most linguists.
54. Indo-European and Amerindian language families predominate the western hemisphere.
55. Most Afghans speak languages from the Dravidian family of languages.
56. Linguistic extinction occurs when all the speakers of a language either die or choose to speak
another language.
57. Euskera, the Basque language, is not related to any other language in Europe.
58. Japan is an example of a monolingual state.
59. Lasker, North Carolina, named for Alaska, is an example of a toponym based upon a mistake.
60. There are no streets named for Martin Luther King, Jr., in Montana.
61. The 1997 revolution in Zaire resulted in the change of the name of the country to Democratic
Republic of Congo. This is an example of a post-colonial toponym.
Essay
62. Indo-European languages belong to the largest language family in the world. How and
where do linguists believe this family originated and how has it evolved? What linguistic
techniques and theories have been used to try to arrive at an answer to this question?
63. Consider the map of European languages and explain the existence and distribution of Celtic
and Uralic (Hungarian, Finnish) languages.
64. What is deep reconstruction? What is Nostratic and of which languages is it assumed to be
the ancestor?
65. Distinguish between dialect, pidgin language, creole language and a true discrete language.
Why is it often difficult to distinguish one from another?
66. Consider some of the place-names (toponyms) in your state or locality. Use the ten types of
place-names devised by Prof. George Stewart to classify some of your local place-names. Do his
categories overlap in some cases?
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