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

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

3. In terms of politics, an American candidate "runs" for office. What does an English candidate do?
(a) Sprints.
(b) Stands.
(c) Sits.
(d) Jumps.

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

5. According to Mencken, the name of what game puzzles etymologists?
(a) Whist.
(b) Badminton.
(c) Poker.
(d) Football.

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

7. What Anglo-Saxon word does Mencken report the colonists refused to replace with an Old Norse word of similar meaning?
(a) Ill.
(b) Sick.
(c) Vapid.
(d) Hale.

8. Whose clarity of prevision does Mencken praise in the opening of Chapter 1.1?
(a) Madison.
(b) Jefferson.
(c) Franklin.
(d) Waldo.

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

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

11. What is the English meaning of the Hawaiian word "lanai"?
(a) Porch.
(b) Garage.
(c) Bathroom.
(d) Balcony.

12. What word in common honorifics did Edwin S. Gould protest against omitting in 1867?
(a) Very.
(b) The.
(c) Right.
(d) Most.

13. What is the second characteristic that Mencken attributes to American English in Chapter 1.5?
(a) Resistance to neologisms.
(b) Disunity of regional dialects.
(c) Translatability to British English.
(d) Disregard of rule and precedent.

14. According to Mencken, how do the English pronounce "been?"
(a) Bain.
(b) Bein.
(c) Bean.
(d) Bin.

15. Which of the following is a term used by philologists to indicate the "instinctive search, etymologically unsound, for short roots in long words"?
(a) Deconstructing.
(b) Etymanalyzing.
(c) Back-formation.
(d) Formative de-synthesizing.

Short Answer Questions

1. What word did Webster argue should have its vowel sound changed to "ee" instead of "eh"?

2. What class of Americans is most influenced by Briticisms, according to Mencken in Chapter 5.2?

3. Who protested the adoption of the broad "a" in an 1857 work entitled "The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table"?

4. How do the English pronounce the first syllable in "lieutenant"?

5. What event does Mencken credit with strengthening the obfuscation of distinction between American and British English?

(see the answer keys)

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