Answers explained: Attitudes of language

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CAMBRIDGE IELTS 9 – TEST 3 – PASSAGE 1

  1. There are understandable reasons why arguments occur about language.
    Keywords: understandable reasons, arguments, language
    In the first paragraph, the writer argues that “It is not easy to be systematic and objective about language   study.   Popular   linguistic   debate   regularly   deteriorates   into   invective   and   polemic. Language belongs to  everyone, so  most people  feel  they have a right  to hold  an  opinion  about it. And when opinions differ, emotions can run high.” The writer lists some understandable reasons for why arguments occur about language.
    –     understandable ~ not easy to be systematic and objective about language.
    =>ANSWER: YES
  2. People feel more strongly about language education than about small difference in language usage.
    Keywords: more strongly, language education, small difference
    At  the  end  of  paragraph  1,  the  writer  indicates  that  “Arguments  can  start  as  easily  over  minor points of usage as over major policies of linguistic education.” This means that people feel strongly in both minor points of usage and major policies of linguistic education.
    –     language (n)=linguistic (a)
    –     small=minor
    =>ANSWER: NO

  3. Our assessment of a person‟s intelligence is affected by the way he or she uses language.
    Keywords: assessment, affected, uses language
    In  paragraph  2,  the  writer  says  that  “linguistic  factors  influence  how  we  judge  personality, intelligence,  social  status,  educational  standards,  job  aptitude,  and  many  other  areas  of  identity  and social survival.”   Therefore, how a person uses language is one of the ways which affects the way we judge that person in terms of intelligence and other factors.
    –     our assessment of a person‟s intelligence= how we judge intelligence
    –     affect=influence
    =>ANSWER: YES

  4. Prescriptive grammar books cost a lot of money to buy in the 18th   century.
    Keywords: grammar books, cost a lot, 18th   century
    The 18th   century is mentioned in paragraphs 4 and 5.  However, in this passage, the writer does not mention  whether prescriptive grammar books  cost  a lot  of money to  buy in  the 18th    century.  So,  the
    statement is NOT GIVEN.
    =>ANSWER: NOT GIVEN

  5. Prescriptivism still exists today.
    Keyword: Prescriptivism
    In  paragraph  4,  the  writer  says  that  “All  the  main  languages  have  been  studied  prescriptively, especially in the 18    century approach to the writing of grammars and dictionaries…Some usages are “prescribed”, to be learnt and followed accurately; others are „proscribed‟, to be avoided. In this early period,  there  were  no  half-measures:  usage  was  either  right  or  wrong,  and  it  was  the  task  of  the grammarian not simply to record alternatives, but to pronounce judgment upon them.
    Then,  in  paragraph  5,  the  writer  says  that  “These  attitudes  are  still  with  us…”  This  means  that prescriptivism still exists today
    –     still exists=are still with us
    =>ANSWER: YES

  6. According to descriptivists, it is pointless to try to stop language change.
    Keywords: stop language change
    In paragraph 5, the writer indicates that “This approach is summarised in the statement that it is the task of the grammarian to describe, not prescribe – to record the facts of linguistic diversity, and not to attempt the impossible tasks of evaluating language variation or halting language change.”
    –     it is pointless to try = attempt the impossible tasks
    –     stop=halt
    =>ANSWER: YES

  7. Descriptivism only appeared after the 18th   century.
    Keyword: Descriptivism
    In paragraph 5, the writer says that “This approach is summarised in the statement that it is the task of  the  grammarian  to  describe,  not  prescribe  –  to  record  the  facts  of  linguistic  diversity,  and  not  to attempt  the  impossible  tasks  of  evaluating  language  variation  or  halting  language  change.  In  the second  half  of  the  18th   century,  we  already  find  advocates  of  this  view,  such  as  Joseph  Priestley, whose Rudiments of English Grammar (1761) insists that „the custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language”
    =>ANSWER: NO

  8. Both descriptivists and prescriptivists have been misrepresented.
    Keywords: misrepresented
    In the last paragraph, the writer argues that “In our own time, the opposition between descriptivists and prescriptivists has often become extreme, with both sides painting unreal pictures of the other.”
    –     misrepresented= painting unreal pictures of the other
    =>ANSWER: YES

9-12. The language debate
According to 9….., there is only one correct form of language. Linguists who take this approach to language place great importance on grammatical 10…..Conversely, the view of 11…., such as Joseph Priestly, is that grammar should be based on 12…..

  1. According to….., there is only one correct form of language.
    Keywords: one correct form of language
    In paragraph 3, “prescriptivism is the view that one variety of language has an inherently higher value than others, and that this ought to be imposed onthewhole of the speech community.”
    =>ANSWER: H (prescriptivists)
  2. Linguists who take this approach to language place great importance on grammatical…..
    Keywords: great importance in grammatical
    In paragraph 4, the writer says that “All the main languages have been studied prescriptively, especially   in   the   18th century   approach   to   the   writings   of   grammars   and   dictionaries….The authoritarian nature of the approach is best characterised by its reliance on „rules‟ of grammar.”
    =>ANSWER: F (rules)

11-12.  Conversely,  the  view  of  11….,  such  as  Joseph  Priestley,  is  that  grammar  should  be  based  on 12…..
Keywords: view of, grammar, based on
In  paragraph  5,  the  writer  says  that  “Nevertheless,  there  is  an  alternative  point  of  view  that  is concernedless  with  standards  than  the  facts  of  linguistic  usage.  This  approach  is  summarised  in  the statement  that  it  is  the  task  of  the  grammarian  to  describe,  not  prescribe  –  to  record  the  facts  of linguistic diversity, and not to attempt the impossible tasks of evaluating language variation or halting language change. In the second half of the 18th century, we already findadvocates of this view, such as  Joseph  Priestley,  whose  Rudiments  of  English  Grammar  (1761)  insists  that  „the  custom  of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language.”
–     conversely=nevertheless
–     popular speech= the custom of speaking
=>ANSWER:      11. A (descriptivists)
12. C (popular speech)

  1. What is the writer‟s purpose in Reading passage 1?
    A. to argue in favour of a particular approach to writing dictionaries and grammar books
    B. to present a historical account of differing views of language.
    C. to describe the differences between spoken and written language.
    D. to show how a certain view of language has been discredited
    In   this   passage,   the   writer   provides   some   views   of   language.   The   very   first   one   is prescriptivism  which  is  the  view  that  one  variety  of  language  has  an  inherently  higher  value  than others, and that this ought to be imposed on the whole of the speech community. Next is descriptivism which is summarised in the statement that it is the task of the grammarian to describe, not prescribe – to  record  the  facts  of  linguistic  diversity,  and  not  to  attempt  the  impossible  tasks  of  evaluating language variation or halting language change. So, the writer‟s purpose in this passage is to present a historical account of differing views of language.
    =>ANSWER: B

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