AML1001/1101 Descriptive Linguistics

  • Post category:Post
  • Post comments:0 Comments

AML1001/1101 Descriptive Linguistics

By completing the examination you are confirming that you are fit to do so.

This is an open book assessment – you may use your books and notes to answer the questions but you must not confer with other students also taking the examination. If you quote or paraphrase any material, you must provide a full reference. You must not copy answers or examples from lecture slides. Any answers lifted word-for-word from lecture slides will not gain marks – you must paraphrase in your own words to show that you understand the material.

You should answer all questions. Type your answers either directly into the exam Word document or upload a Word or pdf file containing your answers. It is recommended that you save your answers in a separate Word or Notepad file in case of Internet browser crashes. AML1001/1101 Descriptive Linguistics

For the phonetic transcription question you must ensure that your work is legible. You may use word processing systems such as IPA keyboard at



Using only C for consonants and V for vowels, represent the standard southern British English pronunciation (such as might be followed by a dictionary) for each of the following words.

  1. bungled
  2. staircase
  3. aardvark
  4. yell
  5. chess
  6. stitch
  7. knight
  8. phonetic
  9. exceptional
  10. auction

(20 marks)

For each of the sounds below, give five different ways of spelling the sound in English, and give examples of words which have the sound spelled in that way:

  1. /əʊ/
  2. /k/
  3. /uː/


Now for the letter <o>, give five different pronunciations, and give examples of words which have the sound spelled that way. In addition, for each pronunciation, try to find an example of a word which has the same sound written differently. Briefly explain the reasons for variability in English spelling. AML1001/1101 Descriptive Linguistics

(20 marks)

Transform the following words or phrases into English spelling.

  1. [zɛnəˈfəʊbɪə]
  2. [ˈjəʊk]
  3. [ˈhjuːmn kənˈdɪʃn]
  4. [ˈbeɪbiːz ˈtiːð]
  5. [ˈɪzn̩t tɹænˈskɹaɪbɪŋ ˈfʌn]
  6. [njuːˈmætɪk ˈdɹɪl]
  7. [ˈhæv ˈjuː ɡɒt ə ˈɡəut]
  8. [ə ˈnaɪt ən hɪz ˈneɪvɪʃ ˈtɹɪk]
  9. [ˈsɪt ɪn ðæt ˈsiːt]
  10. [ðei ʃʌt ðə dɔːɹ ɒn mai fʊt]

(10 marks)


Using a broad phonetic transcription (i.e. incorporating accent differences, allophonic variation and connected speech processes), transcribe the following speech, an interview on 9 May 2017 between two presenters Matt Baker (MB) and Alex Jones (AJ) from BBC One’s The One Show and the Prime Minister Theresa May (TM) and her husband, Philip (PM). The recording can be found on Box of Broadcasts through the Brightspace site. Alternatively unofficial videos can be found here: , (in all videos only the first 4 minutes 45 seconds are required for transcription). AML1001/1101 Descriptive Linguistics

In your transcription, follow the sequence of turns set out below (even when speakers occasionally overlap with each other) and start a new line when each speaker begins a new turn. (20 marks – equivalent to 1500 words)


 (Time 0:00 to circa 4:45 – timings slightly different in different videos)

AJ: Hello and welcome to The One Show, with Matt Baker…

MB: …and Alex Jones. Now with us tonight is someone who’s famously been called “a difficult woman.” And that’s the pre-watershed version.

AJ: Now, is it a fair description? Well, let’s ask the man who knows her best, because our guests tonight are the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her husband, Philip.

AJ: Lovely to have you both.

MB: Welcome to the One Show!

AJ: Well, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty then Philip, I mean how hard is it to win a negotiation with your wife?

PM: Oh that’s a good question. Well there’s give and take in every marriage isn’t there?

AJ: Of course!

MB: Yeah.

PM: I get to decide when I take the bins out, not if I take the bins out.

MB: I mean…

TM: There’s boy jobs and girl jobs you see.

MB: Oh really, who yeah… what boy and girl jobs?

PM: I I definitely do the taking the bins out, I do the traditional boy jobs by and large.

MB: Yeah, yeah. Now of course Prime Minister you erm famously used the B word when you were describing how difficult you can be. So this is something obviously that you do recognise, as far as negotiations are concerned?

TM: Oh I I I was erm well when I used it I was of course using a description that somebody else, a colleague, had used of me but I’m just sort of making the point that actually you know when you are in negotiations you need to be tough and actually it’s right to be tough sometimes, particularly when you’re doing something for the country.

AJ: Yes, yes and recently you went on a lovely walking holiday in Snowdonia

PM: Absolutely

AJ: and you came back and decided that you would call an election. Now originally you said that you wouldn’t do that until 2020 but obviously you’d had a change of mind. What was the conversation then that led up to that point and Philip, did you think, hang on we’re on holiday here, what are we having this chat about now for?

PM: when you are married to the PM of course work inevitably intrudes but…

TM:  I mean it was I had said as you said that I wouldn’t have an election until 2020 because when I became PM last year I think the most important thing was stability.

AJ: Yes.

TM: And I wanted to give the country that stability and show that we were getting on with the Brexit process. But when we were going through the process of triggering Article 50 it just became clear that other parties were looking ahead to disrupt negotiations and I just felt it was important to have an election, to get a clear mandate, er to…and then take that forward and strengthen the UK’s hand in negotiating. Because it is going to be tough.

MB: Yeah so with that particular walking holiday then, did you go to clear your mind so that you would get sorted or is it something that just kind of happened when you were there?

PM: We go because we love walking in the Welsh mountains. I mean that is the reason.

AJ: Oh good choice!

PM: That is the reason we go. We do. We do love it.

TM: It is I mean it’s great.

AJ: <<unclear>> is beautiful isn’t it?

TM: …It is beautiful.

PM: When we eventually get to the top I’ll I’ll…be able to tell you…

TM: No we have been up once.

PM: We’ve been up once?

TM: Yes.

MB:  What was the drive back to London like when you’ve you know once you’ve decided?

TM: Erm well I don’t think it was any different…I mean the point is that you know in this role from time you are making tough decisions. I’m making tough decisions from time to time. And I think the important thing is that whatever you are looking at, whatever you’re doing, do what you think is right. And and you know when you’ve decided what you think is right, then just get on with the job and get on with it.

AJ: And head down. Well we are not going to be discussing politics with a capital P tonight, because the Prime Minister will be facing a grilling from Andrew Neil in this time slot in a couple of weeks. So we’re going to be taking a different tack, aren’t we, looking at her core beliefs, her career and of course her partnership with her husband.

MB: Yes, Jeremy Corbyn will be here just before the election as well and we are gonna be filming

with five other party leaders as well but we are starting things off.

AJ: Yes, now one European institution I’m sure the Mays are firmly behind is Eurovision – now we’re not leaving that as well are we?

TM: No. Although I’m tempted to say in current circumstances, I’m not sure how many votes we’ll get!

MB: Yeah well…

AJ: Nil points.

MB: That’s going to be very interesting come Saturday, very interesting indeed.

AJ: Well, it’s still happening and Mel Giedroyc is really pleased about that.

She and our hopeful contestant Lucie Jones will be talking to us from Kiev a bit later on.

MB: Now the BBC and other broadcasters, even Facebook, are beefing up their fact-checking during the election because of the rise of fake news.

AJ: Young people are growing up in a world where pseudo fact, rumour and downright invention are presented as the truth so what can be done about it? Well we’ve had a few ideas.




Using concepts covered in this module, compare similarities and differences in the speech of the four speakers (MB, AJ, PM and TM) in around 1500 words. For this you can look across the whole interview, rather than just the portion you transcribed in the previous question, but only consider phenomena found in the data – for example, do not generalise about other things you have heard these speakers say elsewhere, and stick to the four speakers mentioned – do not consider the speech of other people found in the recording. You may wish to describe and comment on differences in consonant and vowel realisation, potential phonemic differences, and variation in use of connected speech processes, as shown in your transcript above. You might also wish to describe and comment on syntactic and morphological structures used by each speaker using the tools learnt in the earlier part of the module. (30 marks – equivalent to 1500 words). AML1001/1101 Descriptive Linguistics

Leave a Reply