Question 1.

Below you find a list containing a number of loanwords in English. 

  1. Identify the immediate origin of these words.
  2. Give the period during which they were borrowed (approximately).
  3. For each of these loans, give the formal criteria on which you base your conclusions on origin and period.
  4. chef
  5. law
  6. urban
  7. kettle
  8. skirt
  9. venison

question 2. From the point of view of the history of a language, what is the relation between the notions of (language) change and (language) variation.

Question 3.

Very briefly, define and exemplify, the following concepts/ideas:
a.    cognate
b.    Finno-Ugric
c.    reconstructed language  

Question 5.

Everyone knows that English borrowed extensively from French during the second millennium AD. However, if one breaks down this situation in two parameters of origin:

  • the immediate source (Norman French, AN, or Central French, CF) of the borrowed word, and
  • the time period (early or late) when the word was borrowed

then things become a little bit more complex. The table below contains five French loan words and their (standard) Present Day British English pronunciation. Your task is to:

  1. state whether the immediate sources of the loans are Anglo Norman (AN) or (Central) French (CF);
  2. state whether the loans took place early (roughly before 15th c.) or late (roughly after 15th c.) in the history of English;
  3. explain what you base your conclusions on (that is, which linguistic criteria help you in your analysis?).

question 5.

Consider the three PDE words, bitebeet and out.

  1. Give the pronunciation of the three words as they should have sounded about 1400.
  2. Give today’s pronunciation of the words.
  3. Which sound change do you think is to “blame” for this bad correspondence between pronunciation and spelling we see in today’s English?
  4. Give a very brief summarizing description of what this sound change process was all about. This should include a short account of what the common phonetic characteristic was of the sounds affected.

Question 6.

Consider the two most influential theories today on the Indo-Europeans and their homeland as formulated by Marija Gimbutas and Colin Renfrew, respectively. Briefly compare these two theories with respect to their ideas as regards

  1. when the Indo-Europeans began migrating.
  2. where they originally lived.
  3. why the Indo-Europeans were successful. 

Question 7.

Which of the following languages do not belong among the Indo-European languages.

  • Kymric (Welsh), Danish, Tagalog,
  • Albanian, Basque, Romanian,
  • Latvian, Urdu, Catalan,
  • Magyar (Hungarian), Greek, Russian,
  • Hebrew, Galician, Sami,
  • Farsi, Norn, Macedonian,
  • Berber, Slovak, Icelandic.

Question 8.

Latin words have been borrowed into English on a number of occasions (that is, there have been different periods of extensive Latin influence). Two of these periods are very obvious as the type of vocabulary borrowed during them belonged to specific semantic areas.

  • For each of these two periods identify what types of words were borrowed.
  • When approximately the borrowing took place.
  • Give one example of a word borrowed for each period.

Question 9.

Give a brief socio-historic account of the Old English period. Basically, the main events in this period from a social and historical point of view.

Question 10.

Euphemism, and pejoration are (among other processes) semantic processes through which languages can be said to change, evolve and develop over time.                    

  1. Explain how a historical linguist understands these words. That is, what do they mean.
  2. Give one concrete illustrating examples in each explanation (you don’t have to give English examples, Swedish, German and French ones will do as well).

Question 11.

Consider the  following examples.                           

Latin Proto-Germanic  OEPresent Day English
cutis*χūðiz        hȳ/hy:d/  hide /hɑɪd/

These four words are cognates with roughly the same meaning ‘hide’ / ’skin’. 

These examples can be used in order to illustrate and discuss three important (sets of) sound changes in the history of the English language. 

  1. What are these three sound changes called?
  2. Approximately when in the history of English did they operate?
  3. Very briefly describe each of these changes using only the examples above. 

Question 13.

One interesting phenomenon in the Early Modern English period was something called etymological respelling. One word which illustrates this phenomenon is indict. Give a short description of what is meant by etymological respelling.

Question 14.

Consider the words in the table below. They can all be used as illustrating examples of a specific type of change in language. Which one? Also, give a very brief description of this type of change.

bridd — ‘bird’->bird —‘bird’
formaticus — ‘formed in a mold’ ->fromage — ‘cheese’
uroh — ‘hero’->urho — ‘hero’

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