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Name: __________________________

*This study guide is due on 8/20*

Linguistics for Teachers and Writers
TESC E&W Studies

Study guide for week 9:

The goals for this week are to: 1) acquire a vocabulary for describing how language varies from speaker
to speaker, and from community to community; 2) explore the ways in which gender affects language
behavior; 3) investigate the ways in which age, socioeconomic status, and culture affect language
behavior; 4) describe the regional variation present in the U.S. today.


Language Files: Chapters 10 and 13
Pinker: chapter 12

Exercises from the text:

Language Files: File 10.5 and 13.5.

Additional exercises:

1. Each of the following words is formed using the rules of some play language. Examine the
words and state the rule that underlies the formation of each set.
a. egelegephagant, higippogopogotagamugus
b. nutsbuts, raibaisinsbins, icebicecreambeam
c. bed and brutter, trimb a clee, chamb lop, sli skope

2. Consider the following forms (remember, * means unacceptable and means

a. fan-fuckin-tastik
b. *fantas-fuckin-tik

c. *ab-frigin-solutely!
d. abso-frigin-lutely!
e. *absolute-frigin-ly

f. *u-bloody-niversity
g. uni-bloody-versity
h. *univer-bloody-sity
i. *universi-bloody-ty

What principle is guiding the insertion of the expletive into the word? Hint: think about the
syllables and the stress in the word. Now consider the following word. Where would one be
able to insert an expletive into this word? (It is a place name in the US, and is pronounced

j. a-fuckin-palachacola *
k. apa-fuckin-lachacola *
l. apala-fuckin-chacola *
m. apalacha-fuckin-cola *
n. apalachaco-fuckin-la *

3. Each pair of words below is pronounced as shown in at least one American dialect. State
whether you pronounce each word in the way it is given here. If not, state how your
pronunciation differs.

a. horse [hots] hoarse [hots]
b. morning [motn r] mourning [motn r]
c. for [Iot] four [Iot]
d. ice [eys] eyes [ayzs]
e. knife [neyI] knives [nayvz]
f. mute [myut] nude [nyud]
g. pin [
n] pen [
c n]
h. hog [hog] hot [hat]
i. marry [m+t] merry [mct]
j. merry [mct] Mary [mct]
k. cot [k
at] caught [k
l. father [Iae] farther [Ia:e]
m. (to) lease [1s] (to) grease [gtz]
n. what [wat] watt [wat]
o. ant [+ nt] aunt [a nt]
p. creek [k
tk] sick [sk]

4. Choose a particular field of endeavor, (farming, computers, music) and describe the unique
features of its sublanguage.

5. Often, word choice reflects unexamined attitudes about appropriate gender roles, so that terms
frequently or normatively associated with one gender are modified when used with the other
gender. Examples include male nurse instead of nurse, lady doctor instead of doctor,
family man but not family woman, career man but not career woman. In other cases,
the feminine suffix may trivialize the womans work/career as in authoress or poetess.
Collect five examples of such sex-role typing. If you were writing guidelines for nonsexist use of
language, what sorts of substitutions or suggestions would you offer to deal with such words?
Can you think of any changes to the pronoun system of English that would make it more gender

Essential concepts:

mutually intelligible
communicative isolation
prestige dialect
overt/covert prestige
dialect continuum
standard dialect
prescriptive standard
style shift