The American Language Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What "great humorist" does Mencken cite in Chapter 1.3 as "celebrating 'the vigorous new vernacular of the occidental plains and mountains'"?
(a) John Fiske.
(b) William Dean Howells.
(c) Mark Twain.
(d) Samuel Elridge.

2. What is the English meaning of the phrase "to carry on"?
(a) To raise hell.
(b) To talk endlessly.
(c) To be on the job.
(d) To shoulder one's pack.

3. What "Anglomaniac affectation" did Noah Webster sneer at in 1789?
(a) The broad "a."
(b) The literature of Fowler.
(c) The recalcitrance to neologisms.
(d) Clinging to the silent "u" as in "honour."

4. According to the report of Beverley, what did a group of soldiers turn into after eating some Jimson Weed?
(a) Corpses.
(b) Somnambulists.
(c) Zombies.
(d) Fools.

5. What is the principal reason Mencken states that the English language has not greatly diverged since the foundation of the United States of America?
(a) American neo-classical tastes.
(b) Transatlantic travel.
(c) Transatlantic communication.
(d) Solidarity of higher education.

6. The prudish reluctance to name what sort of diseases hindered proper preventative information?
(a) Psychological.
(b) Gastro-intestinal.
(c) Venereal.
(d) Cancerous.

7. Which Founding Father is said to have sought to establish a new American alphabet?
(a) Thomas Jefferson.
(b) George Washington.
(c) Benjamin Franklin.
(d) John Hancock.

8. What word did Webster argue should have its vowel sound changed to "ee" instead of "eh"?
(a) Beef.
(b) Deaf.
(c) Heft.
(d) Beer.

9. What is the physical basis to which the nasal twang of Americans is ascribed?
(a) Colder air.
(b) The dry climate.
(c) Genetic diversity.
(d) The moist climate.

10. Who protested the adoption of the broad "a" in an 1857 work entitled "The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table"?
(a) Oliver Wendell Holmes.
(b) Frank H. Vizetelly.
(c) Noah Webster.
(d) Richard Meade Bache.

11. Which Founding Father coined the term "to belittle"?
(a) James Madison.
(b) Benjamin Franklin.
(c) Alexander Hamilton.
(d) Thomas Jefferson.

12. Who is the author of "Dissertations on the English Language"?
(a) Benjamin Franklin.
(b) H.L. Mencken.
(c) Thomas Jefferson.
(d) Noah Webster.

13. What word best describes the English attitude towards the adoption of foreign loan-words, in contrast to the American attitude?
(a) Tolerating.
(b) Accepting.
(c) Conservative.
(d) Liberal.

14. Which letter of the alphabet do Americans differ in pronunciation from other English-speaking countries?
(a) J.
(b) W.
(c) X.
(d) Z.

15. Who "tries" a legal case in England?
(a) The barrister.
(b) The jury.
(c) The judge.
(d) The solicitor.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to Chapter 2.6, what regional pronunciation is erroneously thought by some to have superior authority regarding English pronunciation?

2. What is the English word for a collection of colleges?

3. How many dialects dominate American English, according to Chapter 1.5?

4. What sound did Webster object to inserting in words such as "gradual" and "nature," before the "u"?

5. What country's works dominated the reading habits of the American colonists in the latter 18th century?

(see the answer keys)

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