The American Language Test | Final Test - Easy

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

Multiple Choice Questions

1. From what newspaper does Mencken derive the story with which he opens Chapter 11.2?
(a) The New York Tribune.
(b) The Los Angeles Times.
(c) The Baltimore Sun.
(d) The Boston Herald.

2. To what do English writers usually ascribe the American custom of numbering and lettering streets?
(a) Easiness.
(b) Ingenuity.
(c) A lack of wit.
(d) Poverty of invention.

3. Which phrase did Oliver Wendell Holmes use to describe the state of the person who makes use of slang?
(a) Creative genius.
(b) Bumbling idiocy.
(c) Mental atrophy.
(d) Intellectual alacrity.

4. Which of the following is the analogate to which Mencken compares the slang words overused by the ignorant?
(a) Marriages.
(b) Cushions.
(c) Coins.
(d) Horses.

5. Which of the following is one of the three great causes of change in language according to Sayce, as reported in Chapter 9.3?
(a) Cultural encounters.
(b) Laziness.
(c) Phonetic innovations.
(d) Lexicography.

6. Which Americanized foreign loan-word in the common speech means, in its vulgar loaned form, "to prance or to walk consciously"?
(a) Habichoo.
(b) Minoot.
(c) Sashay.
(d) Proteege.

7. According to Mencken, which of the following does "one American professor of English" predict will become a spelling form of the future?
(a) Cigar.
(b) Fotograf.
(c) Socks.
(d) Tyre.

8. What is the name of the professor who advocates the assimilation and alteration of the spelling and accentuation of foreign words?
(a) Louise Pound.
(b) Edmund Gosse.
(c) Brander Matthews.
(d) Nora Helmar.

9. Which impulse behind American imitation of English orthography is more influential?
(a) Anti-colonialism.
(b) Compromise for cheaper printing.
(c) Affectation.
(d) Convenience.

10. What principle of spelling was behind much of Webster's theory concerning the simplification of spelling?
(a) Flexibility.
(b) Convention.
(c) Phonetics.
(d) Vowel accentuation.

11. In what century did England replace the "i-sound" with the "oi-sound" in words such as "boy"?
(a) The eighteenth.
(b) The sixteenth.
(c) The nineteenth.
(d) The seventeenth.

12. How does Mencken characterize the vulgar American habitual use of the double negative?
(a) With "periodic intensity."
(b) With "unconscious loathing."
(c) With "sturdy fidelity."
(d) With "happy fecundity."

13. In what parts of language does Mencken say the "chief grammatical peculiarities" of spoken English are found?
(a) Verbs and pronouns.
(b) Adverbs and adjectives.
(c) Nouns and participles.
(d) Nouns and prepositions.

14. What language did "ambassador," "ancestor," and "bachelor" come into English from?
(a) French.
(b) Italian.
(c) Latin.
(d) Spanish.

15. What leads most of the studies of the sounds of the American common speech astray, according to Mencken in Chapter 9.10?
(a) Laziness.
(b) A lack of scope.
(c) Individualistic interpretation.
(d) English conventionalism.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which reporter first brings colloquial Americanisms to the written word, according to Mencken in Chapter 9.2?

2. Mencken reports hearing of a German named "Knoche," who to avoid being called "Nokky," changed his name to what?

3. What spelling change is made from English to American in words such as "connection"?

4. Who is apparently the first literary critic to point out the "enormous gap between the literate and unliterate American"?

5. Which of the following does Wilcox not list as a negative treatment of the English language by grammarians?

(see the answer keys)

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