Language Matters: Pot Pourri (3)


How good is your understanding of the form, use and phonological features occurring in various structures and lexical items? What problems might they cause for students? Test your understanding with this activity - and then check your answers against those on this page.  There are six questions, some divided into sections. You don't need to do them all at once - try doing one section a day over a period of time. 

The following is an extract from Brotton, J. (2012) A History of the World in Twelve Maps, Penguin, pp, 218-219

Ever since the Habsburg emperor Charles V had inherited the Low Countries from his Burgundian ancestors in 1519, this fiercely independent patchwork of cities and municipalities had refused to accept what it regarded as the centralization of government and taxation by a foreign power, which ruled through governors-general based in Brussels. Four years before the arrests of 1544, Ghent refused to contribute to the Habsburg war effort against neighbouring France. The subsequent revolt was ruthlessly suppressed by Charles and his sister, Queen Maria of Hungary, governor and regent of the Low Countries.



1. Comment on the form, meaning and use of the two adverbs highlighted in the text – fiercely and ruthlessly. Transcribe them into phonemic script.

2. Define apposition, and identify and comment on its use in the extract. The extract shows that it is a common genre feature of expository text. But in what other genre would you expect to see it used frequently?

3. Comment on the form and use of the two occurrences of the word by in the text. Identify two other uses of by. What problems might these cause for learners?

4. Comment on the form of the following words in the text : independent, centralization, neighbouring. Identify one problem each word might pose for learners.

5. Identify the form and use of the cohesive ties of the italicised words in the first sentence - his, this, it, which

6. Identify the features of connected speech that might occur in the following phrases from the text

a)  …refused to contribute to the Habsburg war effort

b)  … and his sister, Queen Maria of...

c)  …governor and regent of...