The American Language Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which word do Americans use for "angry" that was once an English provincialism considered base?
(a) Furious.
(b) Pissed.
(c) Mad.
(d) Irritated.

2. According to the tale spread by William Gifford, what language was supposed to be substituted for English during the Revolutionary War?
(a) Spanish.
(b) Hebrew.
(c) Latin.
(d) French.

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

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

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

Short Answer Questions

1. How is the "portmanteau-word" formed?

2. What is the English meaning of the Hawaiian word "lanai"?

3. What English word does the author of "Men and Manners" lament about the American re-signification?

4. According to Mencken at the beginning of Chapter 1.3, what do the novelists and newspapermen on either side of the Atlantic ocean delight in?

5. What use of storage was added to the American meaning of the word "barn?"

Short Essay Questions

1. What are the different significations of "guy" in America and England, as described by Mencken?

2. What general problem of language does Mencken describe in Chapter 1.1?

3. Upon what does Mencken claim the art of American prose is based, in Chapter 9.2?

4. What, in Chapter 1.3, is the main conflict of ideas that Mencken puts forth?

5. What is indicated by dominance of American terms derived from German that are related to eating and drinking?

6. In general, what is the relationship between foreign names for locations and American pronunciations?

7. What chief cause does Mencken ascribes the backwardness of American war slang to?

8. What were some of the reasons that many immigrants changed their names upon arriving in America?

9. What characterizes the differences between American and English usage of lower-class idioms?

10. What effect did the exploration of new territory have on the language of the American settlers, as described in Chapter 2.3?

(see the answer keys)

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