TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 13 from IVY’s Reading 15 Actual Test
This section measures your ability to understand academic passages in English. The Reading section is divided into 2 separately timed parts.
Most questions are worth 1 point but the last question in each set is worth more than 1 point. The directions indicate how many points you may receive.
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You may now begin the Reading section. In this part you will read 1 passage. You will have 20 minutes to read the passage and answer the questions.
Passage 1| Linguistics
The History of the English Language
The English language is part of the Indo European family of languages. Most modem European languages I but not. for example, Hungarian) and some Asian languages, like Hindi and Sanskrit, are members of this family as well. Two European branches of Ind-european are particularly important to consider when looking at the history of how English developed: Germanic languages and the Romance languages; such as French, Italian, and Spanish, which have their roots Latin.
English is in the Germanic branch of Indo-European languages. This branch of languages it came into existence about three thousand years ago in an area around the Elbe River in what is now Germany. Around the second century BC. what had begun as one Germanic language split off into three disparate groups. One of these groups eventually evolved to become the German language spoken today. Another group was known as West Germanic.
In the fifth and sixth centuries AD, West Germanic invaders called the Angles and the Saxons came to the British Isles. They spoke two dialects of West Germanic that were similar to one another, and these dialects merged into what we today call Old English, which was very similar to West Germanic. These invaders pushed the original Celtic speaking inhabitants out of what is now England- There are still a few Celtic words in English, though. The English language of that period was also influenced by the Vikings.
Old English lasted until 1100, about the time of the Norman Conquest. When the Normans, residents of what is now a region of France, invaded and conquered England, the English language was forever changed. [A] The Normans spoke a dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman, which had both French and Germanic influences. [B] This became the chosen language of the upper class of England, the Normans, for more than one hundred years, while the majority of people continued to speak Old English. [C] However, the loss of Normandy to France in 1204 changed this situation. [D]The Norman nobles started to sever their connections with France and speak a modified version of Anglo-Norman. This new language, which was a combination of Anglo-Norman and Old English, is now known as Middle English. While modem speakers of English would not be able to read or understand Old English, they could, with some difficulty, read Middle English. By 1362, English had become the official language of England.
The alterations that marked these early periods of English were not the end of its transformation, however. During the Renaissance, English changed again. One reason for this was that many Latin and Greek words were introduced into English as scholars rediscovered important ancient works written in those languages. In addition, many other completely original words were introduced into English, and the famous playwright William Shakespeare is credited with having either created or recorded over two thousand of these words.
There were two other major influences in the transformation of Middle English into Modem English. One is called the “Great Vowel Shift” This term refers to a change in pronunciation that began around 1400. Though a Modern English reader could make sense of something written in Middle English, it would sound completely foreign. One example of the change in pronunciation is that the letter “e” at the end of many English words became silent. Middle English speakers would have pronounced it. The other influence in the development of Modem English was the invention of the printing press and the subsequent proliferation of books. Prior to the printing press, spelling, grammar, and even usage were very flexible. However, with the advent of printed texts, these elements of the language became standardized, so there has been far less variability in Modern English than there was in earlier forms.
Changes since the time of Shakespeare have been mainly in the category of vocabulary. Technological advances have made necessary the creation of words to describe new objects, processes, and ideas. Industry, computers, and space travel all so required new descriptive terms. Words can also fall out of usage from one generation to the next. Another reason for the evolving vocabularies has been the increasing communication between and migration of people all over the world. Words from foreign places have been absorbed into the language. For example, the common word “shampoo” comes from the Hindi language. Overall, it can be seen that English has undergone great transformations since its origin, over three thousand years ago, on the shores of the Elbe River.
1. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(A) Romance languages are derived from Latin and include French, Italian, and Spanish.
(B) Germanic and Romance languages significantly influenced the development of English.
(C) Two European language families broke into many languages that are currently spoken throughout Europe.
(D) English evolved from a mixture of many languages, such as French, Italian, and Spanish.
2. According to paragraph 1 and paragraph 2, which of the following is true about the English language?
(A) It is more closely related to Sanskrit than Hungarian.
(B) It is considered a Romance language, like Spanish.
(C) It is more closely related to French than German.
(D) It is not considered an Indo-European language.
Paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 are marked with arrows
3. According to paragraph 3, which of the following is true about Old English?
(A) It was most influenced by the Celtic and Viking languages.
(B) It was widely used prior to the fifth and sixth centuries AD.
(C) It was similar to the language spoken by the original inhabitants of England.
(D) It was a combination of two groups of the West Germanic language family.
4. The word This in the passage refers to
(A) Old French
(D) Old English
5. The word sever in the passage is closest in meaning to
6. In paragraph 4, the author states that
(A) immediately following the Norman Conquest, the residents of England spoke Middle English
(B) the nobility spoke a different language than the common people for more than a century in England
(C) the loss of Normandy to France began a period of cultural interchange between England and France
(D) Middle English texts would be impossible for modern English speakers to read and understand
Paragraph -1 is marked with an arrow
7. Why does the author discuss current English speakers in paragraph 4?
(A) To compare the modern British population with that of 1204
(B) To clarify the relationship between the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons
(C) To emphasize how long English has been the official language of England
(D) To highlight a difference between Old English and Middle English
8. The word proliferation in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) writing style
(B) rapid creation
(C) modern design
(D) unintended effect
9. In paragraph 6, the author describes the”Great Vowel Shift” by
(A) discussing the standardization of spelling, grammar, and usage
(B) citing a specific example of a pronunciation divergence
(C) explaining the results of the innovation of the printing press
(D) defining the difference between spoken and written Middle English
Paragraph 6 is marked with an arrow Mi.
10. Based on the information in paragraph 5 and paragraph 6, what can be inferred about how Middle English changed into Modem English?
(A) The transition was a smooth one because Middle English sounded very similar to Modern English.
(B) The transformation occurred as a result of developments in English society.
(C) Modern English created a precedent by pronouncing vowels that had been silent in Middle English.
(D) Playwrights played a larger role in developing the language than most people realize.
Paragraph 5 and paragraph 6 are marked with arrows [*♦].
11. In paragraph 7, why does the author mention computers?
(A) To provide an example of a word that is derived from Middle English
(B) To show how English has not changed much since the Renaissance
(C) To identify a foreign-language word that has become part of English
(D) To illustrate a modern creation that has resulted in new English words
12. Look at the four squares ■ that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
What emerged was in many ways a new language with few ties to the old.
Where would the sentence best fit?
Click on a square [■ ] to add the sentence to the passage.
13. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
The history of English, from the origins of the Germanic tongues to the language we speak today, has been marked by many changes.
(A) Three thousand years ago near Germany’s Elbe River, the Old English ancestral language family split into three groups.
(C) English common people in the 1100s spoke Old English, but the Norman noble classes introduced them to Middle English.
(E) Modern English emerged as a result of various phonological, technological, and social changes and has continued to absorb new vocabulary.
(B) Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries combined two versions of West Germanic to create Old English.
(D) Old English mixed with a dialect called Anglo-Norman to produce Middle English, which eventually became the official language of Britain.
(F) Modern English contains many new and foreign words that show the influence of technology in today’s English-speaking societies.
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