How do we talk about death in English?

PSYC/LING 375: Psychology of Language

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Assignment 2

Please proofread your answers before you turn your assignment in. Papers that are difficult to read and understand due to spelling and grammar issues will automatically lose 5-10 points.

Question 1 [15 points]. Consider the following sentences:

(i) Put aside some time for a movie.

Taking a shortcut will save you time.

I don’t have the time to give you.

How do you spend your time these days?

I’ve invested a lot of time in her.

I don’t have enough time to spare for that.

You’re running out of time.

You need to budget your time.

Is that worth your time?

Do you have much time left?

He’s living on borrowed time.

I lost a lot of time when I got sick.

I don’t have enough time to drive there.

Time’s up.

a) List three qualities or descriptors of time that you see in (i). For each quality, list two expressions that show this quality (e.g., for a similar problem on nature, you could say nature is feminine and list “Mother Earth” and “Mother Nature” to show this.)

b) What is the metaphor in (i)? Use the format TIME IS _______ (fill in the blank.)

c) Now consider the following sentences, which illustrate a second metaphor about time:

(ii) Time flies when you’re having fun.

The time is going by so fast.

(iii) We’re approaching the end of the year.

The weekend is coming soon.

The time for action has arrived.

(iv) Don’t look behind, that time is over.

That’s all behind us now.

How are we talking about time in these sentences? Use the format TIME IS __________ (fill in the blank). Although the sentences in (ii), (iii), and (iv) all fit this metaphor, each has a slightly different focus. Explain the differences between (ii), (iii), and (iv).

d) Give two new examples using time in terms of the metaphor in (iii) and (iv).

Question 2 [15 points]. We saw in class that the English preposition in is polysemous and may be used to designate many different kinds of “containing” relationships. Consider another preposition in English (e.g., of, to, by.) You may not use in.

a) List three meanings for your word. Give a one sentence description of the meaning.

b) Give two example sentences for each meaning.

c) What is the most basic (prototypical) meaning sense of the word you are considering? List the meanings in order from most typical to least typical.

Question 3 [15 points]. How do we talk about death in English? You will find many metaphors in English about death, as we talk about death in a number of different ways in English.

Here are some examples to get you started…

Be at peace

Lose one’s life

Give up the ghost

Drop dead

a) List at least 12 expressions about death that you have collected. You may ask friends and family to help you generate expressions about death and/or search for expressions about death online.

b) Describe two metaphors about death in English. Use the format DEATH IS _______ (fill in the blank). Explain the features of each metaphor in words. List three example phrases that fit each metaphor.

c) What can you say overall about the way we think about death? (Do we have positive or negative feelings towards death? Is death an action or a state? etc.)

OPTIONAL: You may discuss expressions about death in a language other than English. Answer questions b and c as listed above. Additionally, tell me the name of the language and give translations for all your examples.

Question 4 [15 points]. List two words (not discussed in class) that are made up of five morphemes or more. These words may seem kind of iffy in terms of how acceptable they are grammatically, and that is fine, as long as it doesn’t clearly violate grammatical rules (e.g., rocksedlyish, rock-s-ed-ly-ish, is not acceptable.) You may not use the words ungentlemanliness or antidisestablishmentarianismor any other word used in class.

1. For each word, clearly indicate divisions between the morphemes, using “-” (e.g., cat-s).

1. For each morpheme, indicate the root and state whether the bound morphemes are inflectional or derivational.

OPTIONAL: You may use a language other than English. Answer questions a and b above as listed above. Additionally, tell me the name of the language and give translations for the overall word and for the individual morphemes.

Question 5 [15 points]. Find a naturally occurring example (a sentence from a book or a magazine article, or a sentence or phrase from a conversation with a friend) of a syntactically ambiguous sentence. Note that the sentence you find will probably be perfectly clear as to which meaning was intended in its original context, and that’s fine.

You will automatically lose 8 points if your example shows lexical ambiguity instead of syntactic ambiguity; and 10 points if the example comes from an online list of ambiguous sentences (do not search for “syntactic ambiguity examples”, etc.)

0. Cite the source. If it is online, you can give me the url. If it is a book, you can give me the title and author’s name. If it is a conversation with a friend, you can describe it as such. Etc.

0. Provide the sentence or phrase in the original context in which it was used. If it is from a book, newspaper, etc. which is not online, (if possible) take a picture of it on your phone and include it in your paper, or else write out the context the sentence occurs in. If it is from a conversation or on a billboard, etc. and you cannot take a picture or it would not be safe to do so, then please describe the linguistic/situational context in which the syntactically ambiguous sentence occurs. Etc.

0. Explain the two interpretations of the sentence, using words (e.g., “old men and women of any age” vs. “men and women, all of whom are old”), and explain which reflects the meaning in the original context (what you’ve given in part b).

0. Explain the two interpretations of the sentence, using brackets (e.g., “[old men] and women” vs. “old [men and women]