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

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #116 : Experimental

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 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

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

Possible Answers:

Phoneme

Morpheme

Word 

Concept

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 #2 : 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:

Syntax error

Babbling

Telegraphic speech

Language drift

Overgeneralization

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 #3 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

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

Possible Answers:

Sublimation

Damaging

Deadly

Killed

Progeny

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 #4 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

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

Possible Answers:

Hinterland

Thermometer

Unapologetic

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 #5 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

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

Possible Answers:

Allomorph

None of these

Cranberry morpheme

Null morpheme

Contraindicated 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 #6 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

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

Possible Answers:

Helped. . . Trapped

Bubbles. . . Cats

Greatness. . . Grateful

All of these

Kindly. . . Unkind

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 #7 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

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

Possible Answers:

Wasted. . . Wished

Depth. . . Width

None of these

Flavoring. . . Seasoning

Blasts. . . Hikes

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 #8 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

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

Possible Answers:

Sell. . . Seller

Make. . . Maker

None of these

Smile. . . Smiler

Wise. . . Wiser

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 #6 : Phonemes, Morphemes, & Phrases

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

Possible Answers:

None of these

Drag. . . Dragged

Cruel. . . Cruelty

Kind. . . Kindest

Word. . . Words

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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