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Preparing for English Semantics and Lexis Quiz

Test Modes

This will be downgraded unless there are technical problems (with evidence).

1. It will be an open book test. There will be two modes of test, electronic and paper based. Online students will do it on their own computers and submit through Blackboard. Offline students will be given a test paper. However, if offline students prefer to do it on their computer, that is also fine.

2. Preparing for the quiz. The quiz will contain 8-10 main items, each of which corresponds to one major content of the lectures (e.g. one item on word structure, one on word formation, sense relations, figurative meaning, etc.). The requirements can be found in the lecture notes, and are also spelt out here.

3. You need to understand theories on the structure of English vocabulary. What does each one refer to as is clearly explained in lecture notes and also in reading?

a. Associative field

b. Lexical/semantic field

c. Word families

d. Word classes

-You need to understand the historical developments of the English language and the major events that marked old, middle, and modern English, as well as representative works/figures.

-You need to be able to analyse the structure of a given word. You need to identify the root, the prefix, suffix, and whether it is derivational or inflectional. An example is as follows. You will be asked to draw a tree diagram of a given word.

-You will be asked to identify how given words are formed based on lecture of week 3. An example is given above. Note that there may be more than one formation process and you need to identify all of them.

-You need to understand whether a sign is an index, icon, or symbol. In test, you will be given a sign (signs), and you need to explain what is it and why. For example, for the following sign, you can write: (1) they are iconic, because they resemble the real shoes and pipes, (2) they are also indexical because they use the things associate with men and women to stand for them, (3) the words women and men are symbolic because they are arbitrary and relate to their meanings based on convention. Note that one sign may be iconic, indexical and symbolic at the same time.

-You need to be able to tell the difference between reference, denotation, sense and connotation. You will be asked about the nature of meaning of different words.

-You will need to understand sense relations. In test, you will be given two words, and you need to identify their sense relation. For example good-bad, you need to say it is gradable antonym.

-You need to be able to understand what figure of speech is used in a given sentence. You will also need to identify the tenor and vehicle. For example, ‘The snow whispered as it fell to the ground’. You need to say it is personification, and the tenor is snow, the vehicle is human.

-You will also be asked to provide your own understanding of the concepts we talked about on class, for example, etymology, morphology, and others. Note that you may not be asked in such an explicit manner, but in other more subtle ways to test your understanding.

-Text analysis of metaphor. You will be asked to identify the metaphors in a given text. (please refer to slide 39 of Week 6 PPT).

-You will need to understand the types of speech acts. You will be asked to identify the speech act of a given utterance. You need to understand positive and negative politeness strategies. You may be asked to give examples, or name the politeness strategy in a given example.

-Please note that there may be questions beyond the scope, so as to differentiate incredibly outstanding, excellent, and good performances. Students who are familiar with the readings, or those who go an extra mile to study online resources, will obviously have and advantage.

As it is an open book test, we have to limit the time strictly so as to test your command of the knowledge (if you were given a week, I am sure everyone can get an A). If you are very familiar with the concepts, you can finish in half an hour. However, if you need to check everything from lecture notes and readings, two hours won’t be enough. So the limit of time serve to test how well prepared you are.

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