AP Human Geography : Language & Communications

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Language & Communications

What continent has the most languages?

Possible Answers:

Australia

South America

Europe

Asia

Africa

Correct answer:

Africa

Explanation:

Africa, home to over a thousand languages, has the most languages out of any continent. Many Africans speak two or more languages.

Example Question #2 : Language & Communications

What is the current lingua franca?

Possible Answers:

Spanish

Hindi

French

English

Chinese

Correct answer:

English

Explanation:

The lingua franca is the language of trade, used for merchants to communicate with others who do not speak their native language. In modern times, the lingua franca is English. English is taught in schools worldwide, and while it is not the most widely spoken language, it has become the language of trade worldwide.

Example Question #3 : Language & Communications

Someone who is bilingual __________.

Possible Answers:

Possesses dual citizenship

Can speak two languages

Is born to parents of two different ethnicities

Has renounced their faith and become an atheist

Cannot easily assimilate into a new culture

Correct answer:

Can speak two languages

Explanation:

Someone who is “bilingual” can speak two languages. For example, it is common for American children born to Latin-American immigrants to speak Spanish and English with equal fluency. They are said to be “bilingual.” Although someone who is bilingual may possess dual citizenship and may be born to parents of different ethnicities, this is not the definition of the word.

Example Question #4 : Language & Communications

Which of the following definitions best describes the term illiteracy?

Possible Answers:

None of these

The loss of a local group’s cultural or religious identity

The lack of access to higher education

The inability to read or write

The lack of belief in a higher power

Correct answer:

The inability to read or write

Explanation:

Literacy is the ability to read and write. It is a commonly used as a measure to determine the relative development of societies world over. In this manner, “illiteracy” is the inability to read and write.

Example Question #5 : Language & Communications

Which of the following best describes the primary goal of Zamenhof's Esperanto language project?

Possible Answers:

To ensure the academic survival of extinct or threatened languages

To provide a universal second language that all people could use to communicate with one another

To encourage the use of local and indigenous languages in North America by mandating their usage in local public schools

To encourage the proliferation of western European languages around the world

To provide a global database of all major languages so as to track the spread and relationship of languages around the world

Correct answer:

To provide a universal second language that all people could use to communicate with one another

Explanation:

“Esperanto” was the name given to a universal second language created by the Polish linguist L.L. Zamenhof. Zamenhof took elements from a wide variety of different languages and combined them into one language: Esperanto. The primary intention was to provide a universal second language that people all over the world could use to communicate with one another.

Example Question #6 : Language & Communications

Which of the following forces have contributed most directly to the recent widespread extinction of languages around the world?

Possible Answers:

Industrialization and capitalism

Democracy and capitalism

Colonialism and globalization

Colonialism and agrarianism

Evangelism and industrialization

Correct answer:

Colonialism and globalization

Explanation:

Throughout much of the developing world, many local and indigenous languages have gone extinct or are in danger of going extinct. This phenomenon—the death, birth, and evolution of languages—has been a constant feature of human history; however, this rate of extinction and uniformity has accelerated dramatically in the last several hundred years. There are two primary forces driving this accelerated extinction: colonialism and globalization. Colonialism has changed cultural dynamics by providing an official government language different than those spoken by the native people. In doing so, it forced them to speak a new language in order to deal with the power brokers of their society. These official government languages have often remained post-independence. In a similar vein, globalization has homogenized the world’s cultural and economic experiences. European and American products and media have proliferated around the world. Subsequently, their languages have spread around the world as well.

Example Question #7 : Language & Communications

Lingua francas often emerge __________.

Possible Answers:

when colonizers live in close proximity to indigenous people

to facilitate trade

when academics work hard to ensure the preservation of a localized language

to encourage the spread of religious ideas

during periods of warfare

Correct answer:

to facilitate trade

Explanation:

A lingua franca is a language that combines simple words from multiple languages so that people who need to understand one another, in order to conduct trade and facilitate business, are able to communicate with one another. Lingua francas most commonly have emerged in history in places that serve as centers of trade for a wide variety of linguistic groups, such as southeast Asia and the Italian peninsula. People speaking lingua francas to one another won’t be able to discuss philosophy or existentialism, but they will be able to say “Hey, that is 11 dollars!”

Example Question #8 : Language & Communications

Which of these is not a multilingual nation?

Possible Answers:

Belgium

Switzerland

Canada

India

France

Correct answer:

France

Explanation:

In each of these nations there exists two or more languages that are spoken by a large proportion of the population. All of these countries also have some sort of language protection enshrined into their laws to protect the linguistic rights of those people who speak a language other than that spoken by the majority. The exception to this is France, which is very strictly monolingual and specifically requires that all government business be conducted in French.

Example Question #9 : Language & Communications

Creole languages often arise in places where __________.

Possible Answers:

centralized governments strictly control public education and linguistic orthodoxy

religious devotion and dogma is emphasized above all other aspects of life

indigenous people and colonizers live in close proximity

there is a sizeable immigrant population

women’s status is relatively empowered compared to the global average

Correct answer:

indigenous people and colonizers live in close proximity

Explanation:

Creole languages are formed by the combination of two or more languages. When this newly combined language becomes the primary language of the people in a region it is called a “creole” language. Such a situation has often arise in human history in places where indigenous people and colonizers live in close proximity. Creole languages are common in the Caribbean and various regions of the Americas in general.

Example Question #10 : Language & Communications

Which of these continents is the least linguistically diverse?

Possible Answers:

Africa

Oceania

Europe

South America

Asia

Correct answer:

South America

Explanation:

Africa, Asia, and Oceania are the three most linguistically diverse continents in the world. The least linguistically diverse is South America where Spanish is spoken throughout the continent, with the notable exception of Brazil where Portuguese is spoken. Linguistic diversity is a by-product of a region's historical trends. South America, once home to thousands of indigenous languages, was conquered by the Spanish and Portuguese in the era of European colonialism and those languages have grown in influence and homogeneity in the centuries since.

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