The bi-weekly quiz questions
below are a rough guide to the course, and a fair indication of what
students should study for the final exam. Test yourself !
1 Question Selections for all Classes
1. When did English grammar
books first become popular in England, and why?
2. What language did early
prescriptive grammars of English use as a model for rules?
3. What is a prescriptive
4. Explain the purpose of
a descriptive grammar.
5. What is the goal of a
6. What is a functional grammar
(of the kind described in your text book)?
7. Expain what we mean by
the term, "grammaticality judgement", as a linguist uses it.
8. Berk (the author of your
text book) says that "..when you are studying syntax you are studying
yourself..". What does she mean by this?
9. How might you personally
differ as a language learner from many of the students you teach?
10. "Real grammars are
subconscious". What does this mean?
11. Give one reason why the
rules of spoken and written English are sometimes different.
12. Define "dialect".
13. Why are most dialect
differences spoken differences, rather than written differences?
14. Why do we often have
trouble explaining the rules of a language?
15. Explain in a common sense
way what is wrong with this sentence:
* He died until
the doctor came.
16. Briefly explain the purpose and method of using a story to teach
17. What is the purpose of "hiding" grammar in story when
we teach it?
18. Explain how the teacher may have a different classroom objective
to the students.
19. What is non-standard English?
20. Put the following utterance into a more casual (relaxed) register
How do you do. I'm delighted
to meet you.
21. Which is more important for a beginnning language learner : fluency
2 Question Selections for all Classes
1. What is lateral thinking
2. Why can't you learn all the rules of
English from a book?
3. If we compare the written
rules of English to the laws of a
country, how can this metaphor help us to undersand
of these written grammar rules?
4. If we compare the
labels used by doctors to name
diseases with the labels used by
linguists to describe language, how
can this metaphor help us to understand
the limits and dangers
of such labels?
5. Give a short definition of 'grammar'.
6. Give a short definition of 'syntax'.
7. Give a short definition of 'morphology'.
8. Give a short definition of 'phonology'.
9. What branch of linguistics tries to
relate the patterns of language to
the other patterns of mind (our 'reality').
10. Explain one of Grice's Maxims.
11. Give an example of presupposition
(logical p. or discourse p.) and
explain what is presupposed.
12. Draw a form/function diagram for this
sentence : "Mary broke the window".
13. Make up a sentence and mark the Agent
and the Patient.
14. Write a sentence and mark examples
of two semantic roles.
15. What is one kind of sentence whose
syntax many children have trouble
16. Berk, the text book writer, says that
English is one of only seven languages
in the world which requires a
subject.. Explain my (Thor's) criticism
of this assertion.
17. Labels like 'noun', 'verb', 'adjective'
are used in _________ diagrams, while
labels like 'subject' and 'predicate'
are used in ____________ diagrams.
18 Write a noun phrase containing a Noun
+ two Modifer words.
19. What kind of verb is moved to the front
of an English sentence to form a
20. Write a sentence containing a tag question.
21. What are two features which a grammatical
agent must have? Agent [+
______ ] [+ ______]
accidentally cut his finger.
What semantic role does the Suject,
23. How do semantic roles make a difference
in meaning between these pairs :
look/see, listen/hear ?
24. What is the semantic role of the
chair in The
chair broke ?
25. Does the Topic
of a sentence usually contain
or old information
3 Question Selections for all Classes
1. Write a sentence containing a transitive
verb and an experiencer direct object.
2. Write a sentence containing a
transitive verb and an patient direct
3. Write a sentence containing a
transitive verb and an created direct
4. Write a sentence containing a
transitive verb and an locative direct
5. Make a sentence containing DO or HAVE
as a main verb (not as an auxiliary
6. What do the following verbs have in
sleep, sit, sneeze, disappear
do the following verbs have in common syntactically
fix, enjoy, read
8. Make a sentence which contains both
a direct and an indirect object (i.e.
9. Where does new
information usually come in an
10. Write a sentence containing a copula
11. They did go to the party. Rewrite this
sentence so that its meaning is unmarked.
12. Why are pedagogical grammars sometimes
13. Explain how the Cobuild/Birmingham
University project helped change
how dictionaries were made.
14. It is rather easy to make a computer
model for systematic grammar which
creates good sentences, but very,
very difficult to stop it from ___________________________________
15. Give a syntactic definition of sentence.
16. What are the three main types of English
17. How are the following three sentences
all different syntactically from a
normal declarative sentence?
quiet! / May you be blessed with good fortune ! / Let's leave
4 Question Selections for all Classes
Quiz 4 18 May 2004
1. Show how this sentence can have three different levels of meaning
The milk is not in the fridge!
2. a) What are two different kinds of pragmatic meaning which a question
tag can have?
b) How does the speaker show this difference
3. How is it possible for communication to fail, even though the
speaker uses perfect English grammar?
4. How is it possible for communication to succeed, even though the
speaker uses faulty English grammar?
5. What is the usual attitude of listeners to mistakes in normal
6. Why is the importance of mistakes greatly exaggerated in classrooms?
7. What is the difference between slips and errors, as most text
books define them?
8. What criticism did the lecturer (Thor) make of the usual distinction
between slips and errors in L2?
9. Describe a technique that can force students to take responsibility
for their own mistakes.
10. What is the purpose of an error diary?
11. What are some possible problems with an error diary?
12. Explain why sports players are challenged by mistakes while language
learners are usually
de-motivated by mistakes.
13. When students make multiple errors in the same sentence, what
is the best way to help them fix
14. At what stage of language learning do students need to begin
paying some attention to error
15. Why do students sometimes resist self-correction or peer correction?
16. Why is it sometimes a waste of time to continue correcting particular
local errors like tense?
17. How can the relationship which the teacher has with the students
affect the way they feel about mistakes?
18. What is the difference between a diagnostic test and an evaluative
or grading test?
19. What is interlanguage?
20. Explain the idea of 'language interference' in language learning.
21. Many language errors researchers used to think were caused by
language interference are now
thought to be _______________________
problems which will eventually fix themselves.
7 Quiz Questions (not checked in class, but learn for the exam)
1. What are four
features that can help to make material teachable?
2. What kind of
students may find direct grammar explanations quite learnable?
3. Expain what
students a) can do, and b) can't do .. with a conscious mastery of
grammar rules, but not a
subconscious mastery of those rules.
4. Explain what
kind of grammar rule mastery is needed for fluent speech.
5. What are three
good ways to 'package' language in a classroom for L2 learning?
6. Explain the
meaning of cohesion in language.
7. Explain the
meaning of coherence in language.
8. Explain the
importance of 'completion' in language learning materials.
9. Explain the
importance of repetition in language learning materials.
10. Explain the
importance of 'performance of a real task' in language learning activities.
11. Explain why
rhythm helps students to learn language.
12. How can 'discovery'
by the student help in language learning?
13. Why is student
enjoyment important in the language learning process?
14. What are four
factors that can add to the memorability of the language learning
15. Explain some
of the advantages of nursery rhymes for teaching language to young
what a concordance is by writing a four line concordance for a word.
are useful because they illustrate the _______________ of a word.