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. What event does Mencken credit with strengthening the obfuscation of distinction between American and British English?
(a) The First World War.
(b) The bombing of London.
(c) The French Revolution.
(d) The advent of the transatlantic telephone line.

2. What is the English word for a collection of colleges?
(a) A Collegiate.
(b) A Cardinal.
(c) A University.
(d) A Maltin.

3. Whom does Mencken use to exemplify the flouting of linguistic purity in Chapter 6.1?
(a) Politicians.
(b) Professors.
(c) Working men.
(d) Famers.

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

5. What use of storage was added to the American meaning of the word "barn?"
(a) Chickens.
(b) Cattle.
(c) Crops.
(d) Horses.

Short Answer Questions

1. What vowel sound was dominant in 18th century New England pronunciation, despite common protests to the contrary?

2. What language does Mencken quote Sidney Low as saying is not taught to English youth?

3. What does Sayce say that language is composed of in 1879?

4. What difference in pronunciation does Mencken state most sharply distinguishes the two dialects?

5. What is the physical basis to which the nasal twang of Americans is ascribed?

Short Essay Questions

1. What characterizes the American attitude towards creating new names?

2. How does Mencken characterize Shakespeare and what is the Bard's relevance on American English?

3. What two factors are discussed in Chapter 9.5 as contributing to Mencken's distress in the "movement toward the identity in form" and why?

4. To what does Mencken ascribe the withdrawal of the National Education Association from the simplified spelling campaign?

5. Aside from numbering and lettering, what is the principal way in which American and English styles of naming streets are divergent?

6. What does Mencken imply about the vulgar American usage of forms such as "yourn," "hisn," and "theirn," in Chapter 9.4?

7. What was the predominant attitude of philologists towards the study of American slang, at the time of Mencken's writing?

8. In what way did the early political disunity of the United States hamper the growth of a national language, according to Mencken in Chapter 3.1?

9. In Chapter 1.2, whom does Mencken identify as chiefly responsible for the inhibiting of an American dialect?

10. What is the character of the argument presented by the Society for Pure English in the quoted caveat?

(see the answer keys)

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