|Name: _________________________||Period: ___________________|
This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. What word in American is used for the English word "shoe?"
2. According to the report of Beverley, what did a group of soldiers turn into after eating some Jimson Weed?
3. According to Mencken, how do the English pronounce "been?"
4. Mencken claims that Noah Webster contains less of the scientific inquirer and more of what?
5. What does Mencken state is neglected by those who are professional trained to investigate it?
Short Essay Questions
1. For what reason did the early Americans wish to distinguish their language from that of the English?
2. What two principal sources does Mencken identify as adding new words to the American English in Chapter 2.2?
3. What are the different significations of "guy" in America and England, as described by Mencken?
4. How does the severity and conventional loyalty of grammarians influence those they attempt to educate?
5. What is the most common incorrect usage of the adjective in vulgar American?
6. In what does Mencken evidently delight concerning the speech of American, in Chapter 1.5?
7. In Chapter 1.2, whom does Mencken identify as chiefly responsible for the inhibiting of an American dialect?
8. What characterizes the differences between American and English usage of lower-class idioms?
9. What influence does Mencken credit the Protestant Episcopal Church with about American adoption of Briticisms?
10. 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?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
An important distinction, which Mencken makes in discussing the nature of the American language, is between the proper speech of literate Americans and the common speech of what he calls the proletariat. Write an essay discussing this distinction and its ultimate significance. According to what Mencken has written, is there a genuine distinction between the two? Which of the two does Mencken appear to favor? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each, the proper and the improper, the formal and the informal? What arguments may be made in defense of each?
Essay Topic 2
At the root of the divergence of American from British was the spirit of the Revolution. Write an essay responding to the following questions: What was the nature of the revolutionary spirit? Why did it desire to distinguish itself from England? Why did this desire carry over to language? How was it practical and how impractical? What do these impracticalities reveal about the nature of the spirit? How did this spirit directly influence the American dialect? How did it indirectly influence it? For how long did this spirit continue to influence, directly or indirectly, the American language? What is significant about the relationship between this spirit and the language?
Essay Topic 3
Through what Mencken claims concerning the nature of slang, in Chapter 11, it could be construed as a microcosm of The American Language as a whole. Write an essay investigating this claim. What are the chief characteristics of any linguistic development? What are the chief characteristics of the development of slang? How are they alike? How are they different? What processes do they undergo? What is significant and mutually relevant in these processes?
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