AP Psychology : Language

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1 3 4 5 6

Example Question #1 : Language

What is the name of the theory in linguistics that suggests that some rules of grammar are hard-wired into the brain, and manifest without being taught?

Possible Answers:

Universal grammar

Country grammar

Role and reference grammar

Lexical functional grammar

Systematic functional grammar

Correct answer:

Universal grammar

Explanation:

Usually credited to Noam Chomsky, the theory of universal grammar suggests that all possible human languages share certain properties, such as the rules of grammar. For Chomsky, the development of language involves genetic endowment, external data, and principles not specific to the faculty of language (i.e. those properties of the brain that cause it to learn language).

Example Question #2 : Language

What is the name of the region of the brain responsible for controlling speech?

Possible Answers:

Wernicke area

Broca area

Bicameral area

Brokaw area

Sprachbund area

Correct answer:

Broca area

Explanation:

Also called convolution of Broca, the Broca area region of the brain contains motor neurons involved in speech production. The Broca region was discovered by a French surgeon, named Paul Broca, in 1861. 

Example Question #43 : Cognition

An individual with damage to Broca's area is most likely to have difficulty with which of the following tasks?

Possible Answers:

Answering a question out loud

Remembering a phone number

Distinguishing between blue and yellow

Comprehending a spoken request

Correct answer:

Answering a question out loud

Explanation:

Broca's area is a region of the frontal lobe of the cortex, and is linked to the ability to produce speech. Damage to Broca's area can lead to Broca's aphasia, which is the inability to speak out loud.

In contrast, Wernicke's area is located in the temporal lobe of the cortex and is credited with processing and interpreting the speech of others. Damage to Wernicke's area could leave a patient unable to comprehend a spoken request. Remembering a phone number would require processing by the hippocampus, which is a component of the limbic system credited with memory storage. Blue-yellow color blindness arises when a genetic disorder leaves the individual unable to produce cones that detect light at short wavelengths (such as blue).

Example Question #3 : Language

Which hypothesis predicts that differences in language cause differences in thinking patterns and other cognitive processes?

Possible Answers:

Psychoanalytic hypothesis

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Social learning hypothesis

Kohlberg hypothesis

Perceptual organization hypothesis

Correct answer:

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Explanation:

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (also known as linguistic relativity) states that language shapes the way we see the world. The strong version of the theory states that language determines thought, whereas the weak version states that language merely influences some non-linguistic processes.

Example Question #4 : Language

How did Noam Chomsky propose that we acquire language?

Possible Answers:

We acquire the dominant language of the society in which we live

We acquire the native language of our parents

We acquire language through teachings from caregivers and peers

We are born with an innate capacity to rapidly learn language

Correct answer:

We are born with an innate capacity to rapidly learn language

Explanation:

Noam Chomsky proposed that we all are born with a "language acquisition device" in our minds, which gives us universal principles of human language. We learn our language's own "settings" for human communication according to these universal principles. For instance, if all human language has temporal tenses, we learn how our particular language expresses tense. Although the behaviorists believe we only learn language through our environment, Chomsky pointed out that we learn language very quickly through processes that appear similar to the human species, regardless of environment.

Example Question #5 : Language

What's the difference between semantics and syntax?

Possible Answers:

Semantics studies the structure of sound and how certain sounds reflect meaning in language; syntax is the study of how we assign meaning to units of sound

Semantics is concerned with the acoustics of sound; syntax is concerned with patterns of sound across language

Semantics is concerned with the structure of human language and its idiosyncrasies; syntax is concerned with how we assign meaning in language.

Semantics is concerned with how we assign meaning in language; syntax is concerned with the structure of human language and its idiosyncrasies

Correct answer:

Semantics is concerned with how we assign meaning in language; syntax is concerned with the structure of human language and its idiosyncrasies

Explanation:

Semantics and syntax are fields of linguistics that concern different aspects of language. Syntax is primarily concerned with the universal properties and idiosyncrasies of the structure of language. For example, syntax studies how we construct our language an speech, and how we form certain phrases and clauses. Semantics is concerned with deciphering meaning in language by looking at its logical structure, the meaning of words, or how it is represented cognitively.   

Example Question #6 : Language

What, according to Hockett, is a unique property and linguistic universal of human language?

Possible Answers:

Semanticity, which allows us to assign a meaning to auditory units

Displacement, which allows us to communicate about events or objects which are not immediately apparent

Communication, which allows us to signal back and forth from one another

Emotive, the ability to convey complex human emotions, which are unique to the human species

Correct answer:

Displacement, which allows us to communicate about events or objects which are not immediately apparent

Explanation:

Displacement is a unique property of human language. The only possible exception is in the case of bees, which may have a method of communicating directions to a plant they found. Other than this, we are unique in our ability to discuss events or objects that are not immediately apparent such as places far away, the past, and the future. Some have even theorized this was where the need for language began.

 

Example Question #7 : Language

How can syntax influence the meaning of what we say?

Possible Answers:

In syntax, certain sounds and pitches are used to convey a particular meaning. For instance, high pitched tones are often used to convey affection, particularly from mothers to their children.

In English syntax, we know the verb comes after the subject in a setence. Hence we know in the sentence "The cop carded the student" that "carded" isn't used as the noun "card," but instead is being used as a verb, as in the cop demanded the student for their card.

None of these.

In English syntax, the overall structure of a sentence can be used to convey the emotions of the speaker. For instance, sentences with fewer words and less structural complexity indicates anger, sadness, or boredom. If someone asks "How are you doing?" and the person replies "Okay," they are more likely experiencing negative emotions than if they replied with a more detailed and structurally complex sentence such as "I'm doing alright today."

Correct answer:

In English syntax, we know the verb comes after the subject in a setence. Hence we know in the sentence "The cop carded the student" that "carded" isn't used as the noun "card," but instead is being used as a verb, as in the cop demanded the student for their card.

Explanation:

Syntax is primarily concerned with the ordering of words and phrases, and their respective grammatical functions. That said, it assists in conveying meaning but is not the singular mode to express meaning. For instance, independent of whether or not the word "cat" is ordered in a particular way in a sentence, we know the word refers to a small fluffy feline animal. This is semantics.

However, if we place "cat" at the beginning of the sentence—"the cat sniffed the pigeon"—we know the cat is performing the action of sniffing. But once we reverse the order so that the sentence is "the pigeon sniffed the cat," we know the cat is being sniffed by the pigeon. The order of the nouns, verbs, and objects is determined by the syntactic rules of a language thus assists in conveying meaning.

Example Question #8 : Language

Which of the following is a phoneme of the English language?

Possible Answers:

The "a" in "cat" and "crate" since it manifests as two different sounds in different phonetic contexts

"im-", since this can be added to words to create new meanings (impossible, improbable, etc.)

None of these

"C", because it is a sound that is able to distinguish meaning between two words

Correct answer:

"C", because it is a sound that is able to distinguish meaning between two words

Explanation:

The "C" sound—represented phoenetically as [k], a voiced velar stop—is a phoneme of the English language. Phonemes are units of sound that can distinguish meaning in a language. Another example would be "G" and "B." Since "boat" and "goat" would sound exactly the same if it weren't for the first consonant, we know the first consonant is used to distinguish between the meaning of these two words. Therefore, we know that both "B" and "G" are phonemes of English.

 

Example Question #9 : Language

What is the holophrastic stage of language acquisition?

Possible Answers:

When babies begin to acquire syntactic rules, but overgeneralize them

When babies babble

When babies speak in single words

When babies combine words to form simple commands

Correct answer:

When babies speak in single words

Explanation:

At this particular stage of language acquisition, babies are transitioning away from babbling and beginning to develop communication using whole words. They can only say simple words and cannot combine them, even into simple commands, which is the next stage of acquisition.

← Previous 1 3 4 5 6
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: