AP Psychology : Language

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #51 : Language

Which of the following are phonological examples of "minimal pairs"?

Possible Answers:

None of these

"Crate" and "ate"

"Fate" and "bait"

"Ostentatious" and "subdued"

"Good" and "evil"

Correct answer:

"Fate" and "bait"

Explanation:

Minimal pairs are used in phonology to find sounds that lie in contrastive distribution which make them phonemes of a language. Minimal pairs are words that are only separated by one sound. For instance, "fate" and "bait" are separated by the first sounds "f" and "b" and otherwise sound the same. This means that "f" and "b" are phonemes of English: they are sounds that distinguish between the meaning of words.

Example Question #52 : Language

"Flying planes can be dangerous" is an example of what kind of ambiguity?

Possible Answers:

Structural ambiguity

Lexical ambiguity

Semantic ambiguity

Phonological ambiguity

None of these

Correct answer:

Structural ambiguity

Explanation:

Think hard about the following sentence:"Flying planes can be dangerous."

Did you think of two different meanings or just one? There are actually two and this is due to structural ambiguity. One meaning is that a person flying a plane will be in danger. The other is that planes that are flying are dangerous. In the first meaning, we think of the action of "flying;" thus, flying is a verb performed by some unknown agent. In the second meaning, we think of "flying" as an adjective for "planes" thus planes that are flying in the air are dangerous.

Example Question #51 : Language

How many structural interpretations are there in the following sentence:

John saw the man on the mountain with a telescope.

Possible Answers:

Infinite

Correct answer:

Explanation:

This sentence is structurally ambiguous with two fathomable structural interpretations. One is that John was using a telescope and saw a man. This interpretation makes the noun "John" and the prepositional phrase "with the telescope" related at a higher level. The other is that John saw a man and this man had a telescope. This relates the noun phrase "a man" closely related with "with the telescope". There are only two different ways of syntactically combining this particular sentence according to the rules of English and thus only two structural interpretations. 

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