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. Where was the broad "a" principally established prior to the Civil War?
(a) The Midwest.
(b) California.
(c) New England.
(d) The Southeast.

2. What is the physical basis to which the nasal twang of Americans is ascribed?
(a) The moist climate.
(b) Colder air.
(c) Genetic diversity.
(d) The dry climate.

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

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

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

Short Answer Questions

1. Which letter of the alphabet do Americans differ in pronunciation from other English-speaking countries?

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

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

4. From what language does the English word "moose" come?

5. What term did John Witherspoon coin, framing it within the context of vulgarity?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Mencken mean by saying that Americans have "a habit of achieving short-cuts in speech by a process of agglutination"?

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

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

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

5. How does Mencken describe the distinction between colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions that are generally accepted and those that are not? What example does he use to explain this distinction?

6. 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?

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

8. What is the relationship between the mean and nasty labor done in the United States and the desire of immigrants to change their names?

9. What is Mencken's evident attitude towards the vulgar American pronunciation of foreign loan-words?

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

(see the answer keys)

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