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

2. According to Mencken, democratic government is essentially government by whom?
(a) Businessmen.
(b) The working class.
(c) Amateurs.
(d) Politicians.

3. How is the "portmanteau-word" formed?
(a) By blending two words.
(b) By mixing parts of words with the same meaning in different languages.
(c) By finding the true root in the word.
(d) By onomatopoeic creativity.

4. Which of the following groups of foreign immigrants does Mencken not attribute influence over American English in Chapter 6.4?
(a) South-Pacific Asian Islanders.
(b) Slavic peoples.
(c) Russian Jews.
(d) Italians.

5. To what phrase did Benjamin Franklin, Noah Webster, and Robert Southey object as a base Americanism, as discussed in Chapter 2.3?
(a) To indulge.
(b) To advocate.
(c) To process.
(d) Free endorsement.

6. Which term do English dictionaries all describe as an Americanism from the comparative list in Chapter 4.1, despite the English version being frequently used in America?
(a) Freight.
(b) Railroad.
(c) Rooster.
(d) Hog-pen.

7. What word does Mencken find Dr. John Dewey using in place of the word "opium?"
(a) Skag.
(b) Dope.
(c) Crack.
(d) Poppy.

8. What does John S. Farmer describe the Western vernacular as being?
(a) Dry and prolonged.
(b) Flippant and pointless.
(c) Racy and pungent.
(d) Irreverent and irrelevant.

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

10. Mencken claims that Noah Webster contains less of the scientific inquirer and more of what?
(a) The father.
(b) The erudite fool.
(c) The teacher.
(d) The philological traditionalist.

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

12. What word was "coatee" used as a diminutive for?
(a) Hat.
(b) Shawl.
(c) Beard.
(d) Coat.

13. Who proposed a generally accepted nomenclature for currency in 1785?
(a) Noah Webster.
(b) Richard Grant White.
(c) Thomas Jefferson.
(d) Gouverneur Morris.

14. 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) Transatlantic travel.
(b) Transatlantic communication.
(c) American neo-classical tastes.
(d) Solidarity of higher education.

15. 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."

Short Answer Questions

1. According to the report of Beverley, what did a group of soldiers turn into after eating some Jimson Weed?

2. According to Mencken, which title is subject to the greatest divergence in usage?

3. Who is the author of "Dissertations on the English Language"?

4. According to Mencken, what did the first generations born in the New World value as a virtue over enterprise and resourcefulness?

5. Which of the following did the African slaves NOT introduce to American English?

(see the answer keys)

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