GRE Subject Test: Psychology : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Psychology

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Example Question #1 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

How many morphemes are in the word "beaches"?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Morpheme refers to the smallest unit of language that carries meaning. In the word "beaches" there are two: "beach," and "es" which designates that the word is plural. By contrast, phonemes refer to the smallest units of sound.

Example Question #1 : Language

Which of the following is best defined as the smallest unit of language that carries meaning?

Possible Answers:

Phoneme

Concept

Morpheme

Word 

Grammar

Correct answer:

Morpheme

Explanation:

"Phonemes" are the smallest unit of language that create sound; however, "morphemes" are the smallest units that carry a meaning. 

Example Question #3 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

A gorilla which has learned a limited form of sign language gains the attention of its trainer and signs the incomplete sentence "treat, bring now."

This is most closely an example of which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Babbling

Language drift

Telegraphic speech

Overgeneralization

Syntax error

Correct answer:

Telegraphic speech

Explanation:

Telegraphic speech is speech during the two-word stage of language acquisition, consisting of commands or imperatives given in three-or-more word sentences consisting of functional words only. A sentence like "treat, bring now" contains enough to make the message effective, if not particularly precise.

Example Question #1 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

Which of the following words contains an example of a cranberry morpheme?

Possible Answers:

Deadly

Sublimation

Killed

Progeny

Damaging

Correct answer:

Progeny

Explanation:

A cranberry morpheme is a type of morpheme (the smallest meaningful unit of language) which has no independent meaning or function, but which still serves to distinguish one word from another. In this case, progeny contains the the cranberry morpheme '-geny', an obsolete term designating offspring which is also found in exogeny and endogeny

Example Question #2 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

Which of the following words contains an example of a cranberry morpheme?

Possible Answers:

Unapologetic

Hinterland

Thermometer

Destroyer

Barometer 

Correct answer:

Hinterland

Explanation:

A cranberry morpheme is a type of morpheme (the smallest meaningful unit of language) which has no independent meaning or function, but which still serves to distinguish one word from another. In this case, the term hinterland contains the German word hinter ("behind"), paired with the free morpheme '-land'.

Example Question #3 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

The addition of a string of phonologically absent symbols onto a word creates which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Allomorph

Contraindicated morpheme

None of these

Null morpheme

Cranberry morpheme

Correct answer:

Null morpheme

Explanation:

Null morphemes are theorized to be those morpheme strings which, while possessing no identifying characteristics, nonetheless allow us to differentiate between different forms of a word. Morphologists propose various theories for how these null morphemes may exist and whether or not we learn them naturally as part of the process of language acquisition.

Example Question #4 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

Which of the following pairs of words best illustrates the definition of an allomorph?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Bubbles. . . Cats

Kindly. . . Unkind

Greatness. . . Grateful

Helped. . . Trapped

Correct answer:

Bubbles. . . Cats

Explanation:

An allomorph occurs when a morpheme varies in pronunciation but not in meaning. For example, the pluralizing morpheme "s/es" in English sounds like "z" in bubbles, but like "s" in cats. Recognition of these allomorphs is often much more difficult for non-native speakers of a language.

Example Question #6 : Language

Which of the following pairs of words best illustrates the definition of an allomorph?

Possible Answers:

Blasts. . . Hikes

None of these

Depth. . . Width

Wasted. . . Wished

Flavoring. . . Seasoning

Correct answer:

Wasted. . . Wished

Explanation:

An allomorph occurs when a morpheme varies in pronunciation but not in meaning. For example, the pluralizing morpheme "ed" sounds like a "schwa" in wasted but like "t" in wished.

Example Question #5 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

Which of the following is not an example of a derivative morpheme?

Possible Answers:

Smile. . . Smiler

None of these

Wise. . . Wiser

Make. . . Maker

Sell. . . Seller

Correct answer:

Wise. . . Wiser

Explanation:

Derivational morphemes change either the semantic meaning or the part of speech to which the base word belongs. For example, in the word atypical the derivational morpheme a- reverses the meaning of the word typical to mean "not typical". The usage of the morpheme -er to change "wise" to "wiser", on the other hand, is inflectional only, as it only changes the comparative state of the associated adjective wise.

Example Question #10 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

Which of the following is not an example of a inflectional morpheme?

Possible Answers:

Word. . . Words

Drag. . . Dragged

Cruel. . . Cruelty

Kind. . . Kindest

None of these

Correct answer:

Cruel. . . Cruelty

Explanation:

Inflectional morphemes are morphemes which modify either a noun/pronoun/adjective's number, gender, or case, or a verb's tense, mood, number, person or aspect, but do not chance the word's overall meaning or the part of speech to which the word belongs. The morpheme -ty at the end of the word cruel changes the word from an adjective to a noun, and is thus an example of a derivational morpheme.

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