Home Page Button Syllabus / Policies Button Composition Button Grammar Button Rhetoric Button Rhetoric Button Literature button poetry button classical button medieval button Renaissance Button Vocabulary Button



328 Study Questions: Baugh Chapter Ten: "The Nineteenth Century and After"

Vocabulary: jargon, acronym, alphabetism, OED, folk etymology, historical dictionary, compounding, neologism, blends, portmanteau words, eponym, semantics, linguistic generalization, specialization, pejoration, amelioration, slang, class dialect, geographic or regional dialect, caste dialect, calque, black vernacular, RP, rhoticism, diminutive, pidgin, creole, subjunctive mood, epicene pronoun

abbreviations: RP, OED


What effect did the first cheap newspapers (1816), cheap postage (1840), and improved means of travel and communication have on the spread of standardized speech?

In terms of vocabulary, what field of human knowledge has added even more new vocabulary to English than the regional variations of England's many colonies?

Periods of great enterprise and activity tend to be accompanied by what, linguistically?

10.212 Provide any three examples of a technological, medical, or scientific word that did not enter English until after 1850.

10.213 What are some new verbs that have come into being because of the automobile's influence on modern life?

Provide any example of an older radio broadcasting term being adjusted or altered for use in television broadcasting.

Common computer lore claims that the word "bug" (meaning a computer problem) originates with an actual insect that climbed inside the Mark II computer. What is the problem, linguistically, for making this claim, given the evidence gathered in the OED?

[Lecture Question: Explain the similar problem in folk etymologies that state the word "crap" comes from Thomas Crapper, the inventor of the toilet, or people who claim that the curse word F--k is an acronym for "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge," or the idea that the word "posh" goes back to a shipping acronym?]


The term "slacker" is quite popular among youth today. Where and when did the term "slacker" originate?

The term "blitz" (used frequently in football) comes from what German term associated with World War II?

10.215 How is language a mirror of social progress in terms of technology? In terms of social movements?

10.216 Unsurprisingly, what has English continued to do in the 19th and 20th centuries that it had done in earlier centuries?

In the modern period, what sort of vocabulary has been adopted in the American Southwest? (i.e, what language has been a source of loanwords there in particular?)

10.217 In addition to loanwords from foreign languages, what has been a second source of new words in English in the 19th and 20th centuries? How is this reminiscent of Old English poetry? What betrays these words' origin as coming from two words?

10.218 Many new scientific terms have been formed in Modern English by compounding roots from what two classical languages? Provide an example.

10.219 How have Latin and Greek prefixes and suffixes been useful in forming new words? Provide an example.

10.220 Many 20th century neologisms come from brand-names. Provide an example.

What is a blend? Why are most blends unlikely to survive in later years? (i.e., what tends to happen to the novelty of a blend when it passed about at a secondary level after the original creator makes it up?)

10.221 What is an eponym? Provide an example.

10.222 When English speakers need a word with a new technical sense, what do they often do with an older word--such as a radiator or a skyline?

10.223 Why are journalists particularly likely to create new words when they write, according to Baugh? Why is this especially likely in the case of sports writers?

10.224 What is semantics?

Baugh calls this "extension of meaning," but other scholars like Algeo call it "linguistic generalization." What is this process? Provide an example.

Baugh calls this "narrowing of meaning," or "restricted sense," but other scholars like Algeo call it "linguistic specialization." What is this process? Provide an example.

Baugh calls this process, "degeneration," but most scholars call it "linguistic pejoration." What is this process? Provide an example.

Baugh calls this process, "regeneration," but most scholars call it "linguisti amelioration." What is this process? Provide an example?

Various terms for women's undergarments have appeared and vanished in rapid succession over the last 200 years. Why does Baugh suggest that word "bra," "panties," and "slip," are more likely to last than previous terms?

Words like budge, coax, nonplus, shabby, squabble, stingy, touchy, wobbly, snob, and sham were all once considered inappropriate slang terms. What happened tothem over time?

10.225 What is slang?

What do the words joke, fad, slump, put down, and nerd have in common?

10.226 What is the "spoken standard" of English?

What is the "written standard" of English?

What is the "popular" or "illiterate standard" of English? What is illiterate English generally rich in? What is it especially sympathetic to?

What two explanations does Baugh provide for why written and spoken standards of English have been growing colser together in quality?

If we judge levels of English according to how well they express ideas clearly and effectively, what are we forced to admit?

What social drawbacks or negative attitudes are associated with non-standard dialects? Do most modern linguists think these negative attitudes are justified or reasonable?

10.227 What is RP?

Why does Baugh think English speakers must cultivate a cosmopolitan attitude toward a variety of regional standard forms of English?

10.228 What are regional dialects? Why are the differences in dialects in Great Britain so much more "pronounced" than the differences of dialects in America or Australia?

If we get technical in our linguistics, according to Baugh, how many dialects can scholars identify within the boundaries of a single shire in Britain?

Robert Burns and his poetry is illustrative of what dialect or region in Britain?

What was "stage Irish" in the eighteenth-century? What was its purpose?

What are some of the differences in Irish English in contrast with RP?

The ending -een indicates what in Irish dialects?

What do Irish dialects tend to use instead of the present perfect and past perfect tenses of English?

What do Irish dialects tend to use instead of the preposition "for" when it comes to the meaning "for the duration of"?

What is unusual about the Irish use of "Anyone"?


Why is Australian English so uniform? Why didn't it split into numberous regional dialects?

List one unusual (by American standards) vocabulary term in South African English.

[Baugh provides a long list of regional vocabulary for English in West Africa, East Africa, and Hong Kong. Skim through this material, but we will not focus on it in class discussion or on the final examination.]

How do the national educational policies in Malaysia for Malaysian English and Hong Kong for Hong Kong English illustrate the problems and difficulties of maintaining a regional identity when faced with linguistic globalization?

What in general characterizes Canadian attitudes to loanwords from American English an other Americanisms?

10.230 Why are pidgins and creoles often lexically impoverished? How does this result in periphrastic constructions to convey simple ideas?

How is the analytic nature of a creole comparable to the analytic nature of Middle English?

What does Baugh mean by the basilect, acrolect, and mesolect?


List any single organization or movement that tried to reform spelling between 1837-1931. How has the public generally responded to efforts to improve or reform standardized spellings?

What position did Henry Bradley take regarding this issue in "On the Relation of Spoken and Written Language"?


How are purists inclined to see any change in language?

What is the S.P.E.? How long did it last, approximately?

What does the existence of organizations like hte S.P.E. or the proposed "International Council for English" indicate about the desires of at least some English-speakers?


Normally, what happens when one group tries to reform the language, prescribe grammatical usage, change spellings, or dictate a "standard" of speech? (i.e., how successful are these efforts normally?)

In the 1970s, the effort to eliminate what in English speech has been surprisingly successful?

What is an epicene pronoun?

The increasing trend is to use the word "their" as the possessive pronoun for an individual of indeterminate sex or for generic words. Why is this problematic in terms of traditional grammar?

Given the past history of English pronouns borrowed from Old Norse, why is it unlikely that a new pronoun will be added to English to represent individuals of indeterminate gender?


What does the acronym OED mean?

What is a historical dictionary or a dictionary based on historical principles?

How did the Philological Society of London bring about the Oxford English Dictionary?

What were the two principle aims of the OED?

How many million "slips" containing sample quotations of words were mailed to the editors of the OED?

What important organization was found in 1864 to provide funding for the OED project? Hint: It's not the Philological Society of London.

This organization has printed more than 400 volumes of what?

The second edition of the OED contains approximately how many words? (You can round up to the nearest 100,000).

[Lecture: Why does your teacher think this organization founded in 1864 is so important?]

10.235 What factors have lead to greater stability in the English language in the last 200 years?

When did the substitution of "you were" (as opposed to "you was") in the singular occurs about when?

What has happened to the predicate nominative use of "It is I," so common in Shakespeare's day?

What has mostly happened to the subjunctive mood in the last 200 years?

Why has the get-passive (i.e., "he got caught") come into existence?

10.236 How can verb-adverb combinations result in specialized or idiomatic meanings for a verb? Provide one example of a modern verb that changes its meaning with an adverb attached.

10.237 What does Baugh mean by his "liberal creed" toward the end of chapter ten?






To Home Page
Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2016. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated August 15th, 2016. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.