Wednesday, May 4, 2022

1895 -- 8th Grade Final Exam & Answers -- Subject Orthography

A Completed 8th Grade Final Exam
Salina, Kansas, 1895

Here is a completed 8th Grade Final Exam -- Subject: Orthography  

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography, etymology, syllabication? 
  1. Alphabet - A system of characters, signs, and symbols used to indicate letters or speech sounds, the basis of all writing. 
  2. Phonetic orthography - The standardization of the sounds of the letters of the alphabet in accordance with accepted usage. This varies from area to area within our nation but is becoming more and more uniform as communication and travel between the sections increases. 
  3. Etymology -- The study of the origin and development of a word, tracing it back to its original language and to its sources in contemporary or earlier languages. 
  4. Syllabication - The process of dividing a word into syllables, to determine the phonemic sound, the accent, and roots, to enable the reader to better grasp the meaning and pronounce the word in speech and writing. 
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified? 

The elementary sounds are the consonants and vowels: 
  • A consonant is any speech sound produced by stopping and releasing the air stream (p, t, k, b, d, g), by stopping it at one point while it escapes at another (m, n, l, r), by forcing it through a loosely closed or vary narrow passage (f, v, s, z, sh, zh, th, H, kh, h, w, y) or a combination of these means. 
  • A vowel (a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y) is a voiced speech sound characterized by generalized friction of the air passing in a continuous stream through the pharynx and open mouth, but with no constriction narrow enough to produce local friction. 
  • Phonemes include all significant differences of sound, including features of voicing, place, and manner of articulation, accent, and secondary features of nasalization, glottalization, labialization, and the like. Labial sounds are mainly formed by the lips; glottal speech sounds are formed mainly by closure of the glottis; nasal sounds are formed primarily by resonance in the nasal passages. 

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals? 
  1. A trigraph is a combination of three letters representing one sound. An example is eau as in bureau. 
  2. A subvocal is beneath the voice, a silent or nearly silent sound. 
  3. A dighthong is a complex vowel sound made by gliding continuously from the position of one vowel to that for another within the same same syllable. An example is ou as in down. 
  4. Cognate letters are related in derivation, for instance, i and y. 
  5. Linguals are sounds articulated by using the tongue, for instance the sound th
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'. 

Substitutes for caret 'u' are oo as in tool, eau as in bureau, ew as in crew. 

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e'. Name two exceptions under each rule. 
  1. When spelling words having a final silent e, drop the e when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel. Exceptions - knowledgeable, despiteous 
  2. If the suffix or verb ending begins with a consonant, keep the final e. Exceptions - truly, judgment 
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each. 

Sometimes words have silent letters. These follow patterns that can be memorized. Examples: 
  • gn, pn, kn = n as in gnome, pneumonia, knife 
  • rh, wr = r as in rhyme, wrestle 
  • pt, ght = t as in ptomaine, height 
  • ps, sc = s as in psalm, science 
  • wh = h as in whole 
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super. 
  1. bi - having two elements or natures, i.e., biangular, bifurcated. 
  2. dis - meaning away or apart from, i.e., disassemble, disregard. 
  3. mis - meaning wrong, wrongly, bad, badly, i.e., misstep, misapply. 
  4. pre - meaning before, ahead of, i.e., predate, prescience. 
  5. semi - meaning not whole, partly, not fully, i.e., semicircle, semifinal. 
  6. post - meaning after, behind, i.e., postscript, postpartum. 
  7. non - meaning not, i.e., nonhuman, nonagressive. 
  8. inter - meaning between, among, or reciprocal, i.e., intercede, interchangeable. 
  9. mono - meaning one, single, alone, i.e., monocline, monotheism. 
  10. super - meaning above, over, on top of, i.e., superabundant, superpose. 
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last. 

[ Note: due to the limitations of html, the "macron" diacritical mark for vowels, a dash over the vowel, signifying the sound of the vowel name, is shown as ¯a, ¯e, ¯i, ¯o, ¯u ] 

card = cärd, 
ball = bôl 
mercy = mur'c¯e
sir = sur 
odd = ãd; 
cell = sel; 
rise = r¯is; 
blood = blud; 
fare = fer; 
last ~ last 

9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays. 
  1. The cite which was given as a source for the quote was incorrect. 
  2. The site was surveyed yesterday. 
  3. My rifle has a front and a rear sight. 
  4. We celebrated the re-birth at fane. 
  5. She would fain stay with her husband. 
  6. Can she feign surprise and excitement? 
  7. The vanes on the windmill are broken. 
  8. It is vain to think you are better than others. 
  9. Mother has a varicose vein in her leg. 
  10. Tomorrow they will raze the old barn. 
  11. Today they started to raise a new barn. 
  12. The rays of the sun feel good in the spring. 
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication. 
  1. anonymity == an' o nym' i ty 
  2. bestial == b¯es' tyal 
  3. Capernaum == Ca pur' na um 
  4. datum == d¯at' um 
  5. either == ¯e' ther 
  6. financier == fin' an sir' 
  7. get == get 
  8. homonym == häm' a nim 
  9. inchoate == in k¯o' it 
  10. I couldn't think of one starting with a "j", so, Salina == Sa l¯i' na , not Sa l¯e' na 
--- end of 1895 8th Grade Final Exam and Answers in U.S. History 

Time to take this exam: 1 hour

Editor's Note:

I've made the same comment and asked the same questions after each section in this series on the 8th Grade Final Exam given in Salina, Kansas, in 1895. As I said in the other parts of this series, after reading these questions and answers, I realized how much was expected of children in the past. And second, while I've been able to determine that the test is real and from 1895, I have not been able to find out who wrote these answers. And yes, my friends, I had to look them up to make sure they are correct -- and they are.

How well do you think you would have done taking this 1895 8th Grade Final Exam? Do you think 4-year college students today can pass this exam? How about Teachers today, how would they do taking this exam? Would they be able to pass this test? 

Of course, if you don't think they or your 8th Grade kids would be able to pass this test, it's important that we ask the questions: Why can they? What has happened that has made us unaware of things that 8th Graders in 1895 were required to know? 

Just some things to think about.

More to come!

Tom Correa


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