Mid-Book Test - Hard
|Name: _____________________________||Period: ___________________________|
This quiz consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. What is the physical basis to which the nasal twang of Americans is ascribed?
2. According to Mencken, democratic government is essentially government by whom?
3. How is the "portmanteau-word" formed?
4. Which of the following groups of foreign immigrants does Mencken not attribute influence over American English in Chapter 6.4?
5. To what phrase did Benjamin Franklin, Noah Webster, and Robert Southey object as a base Americanism, as discussed in Chapter 2.3?
Short Essay Questions
1. What is indicated by dominance of American terms derived from German that are related to eating and drinking?
2. What are the different significations of "guy" in America and England, as described by Mencken?
3. How is the advance of American spelling characterized in Chapter 8.3?
4. What influence does Mencken credit the Protestant Episcopal Church with about American adoption of Briticisms?
5. What does Mencken mean by saying that Americans have "a habit of achieving short-cuts in speech by a process of agglutination"?
6. What chief cause does Mencken ascribes the backwardness of American war slang to?
7. To what does Mencken ascribe the withdrawal of the National Education Association from the simplified spelling campaign?
8. What were some of the reasons that many immigrants changed their names upon arriving in America?
9. 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?
10. What is Mencken's evident attitude towards the "wearing down" of vowel and consonant sounds in the vulgar American pronunciation?
There is a very notable and significant difference between the neologisms of the Americans and the British. Write an essay analyzing these differences, their sources, and what the neologisms reveal about the respective national characters. What is characteristic about the neologisms Mencken ascribes to Americans? What are the characteristics of those ascribed to the British? How are these different? How are they similar? How does each country come about fostering their neologisms? What do these methods and their sources reveal about the countries and their national characteristics, respectively?
Of all the various ways in which the American and British dialects are divergent, perhaps the most obvious is the distinct spellings of words. Analyze the significance of this distinction and put forth an argument in support of one or the other spelling paradigm. How do the two dialects go about determining the spelling of a word? What are the principles that ought to be at work in the conventional acceptance of a word's spelling? Which of these principles is the most important? To which principles does each dialect adhere? What is the greater significance of this adherence?
The primary conflict voiced by Mencken in The American Language is that which exists between the spirit of linguistic conservationism and a spirit of linguistic innovation. Analyze this conflict as it is presented throughout the book and report insightfully on the strengths and weaknesses of each spirit. How is each spirit superior to the other? How is it inferior? Is there a valid argument to be made in favor absolutely of one or the other? What arguments may be presented in support of each? What are the arguments that may be presented against each? Is there a plausible compromise that may be made between the two?
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