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 is the principal reason Mencken states that the English language has not greatly diverged since the foundation of the United States of America?
(a) American neo-classical tastes.
(b) Transatlantic communication.
(c) Solidarity of higher education.
(d) Transatlantic travel.

2. Who is the author of "Travels in North America," published in 1827?
(a) Louis Untermeyer.
(b) Henry Alford.
(c) Charles Astor Bristed.
(d) Basil Hall.

3. Which is the second factor that Mencken identifies as an impediment to the growth of the American language in Chapter 3.1?
(a) Territorial expansiveness.
(b) Regional diversity.
(c) Lack of a national literature.
(d) Political disharmony.

4. What term did John Witherspoon coin, framing it within the context of vulgarity?
(a) Scientist.
(b) Briticism.
(c) Americanism.
(d) Anglophile.

5. Which European language has exerted the most influence on the American language?
(a) Italian.
(b) Spanish.
(c) German.
(d) French.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which London newspaper lamented the "menace" that American movies offer to the purity of the English language?

2. What "Anglomaniac affectation" did Noah Webster sneer at in 1789?

3. What word best describes the English attitude towards the adoption of foreign loan-words, in contrast to the American attitude?

4. Which Founding Father coined the term "to belittle"?

5. According to Mencken, the name of what game puzzles etymologists?

Short Essay Questions

1. Under what situation does language undergo great changes and renew its vitality, according to Mencken in Chapter 9.1?

2. How does the severity and conventional loyalty of grammarians influence those they attempt to educate?

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

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

5. What was the overall effect of Noah Webster on the spelling of American English?

6. What is the difference between "rock" in English and in American, as explained in Chapter 2.4?

7. What is the significance of the quote from Sayce at the beginning of Chapter 9.9 that "Language begins with sentences, not with single words"?

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

9. With what sort of distinctions is Chapter 7.2 principally concerned?

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

(see the answer keys)

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