|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 purpose does Miss Wittmann say is served by the shortening of word forms?
2. How many pages in "The King's English" are dedicated to explaining the distinction between "will" and "shall"?
3. What does John S. Farmer describe the Western vernacular as being?
4. According to Mencken, democratic government is essentially government by whom?
5. What word was "coatee" used as a diminutive for?
Short Essay Questions
1. In what ways is the noun principally abused in vulgar American?
2. What is Mencken's evident attitude towards the vulgar American pronunciation of foreign loan-words?
3. How does a word move from legitimate vocabulary to slang vocabulary, according to Mencken?
4. 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"?
5. What does Mencken evidently find confusing and absurd about the "-our" endings in English?
6. What characterizes the divergences of language usage that are cataloged in Chapter 4.2?
7. Characterize the intentions and effects of the renaming done by the Geographical Board, according to Mencken.
8. Why does Mencken find the double negative an appreciable linguistic deviation?
9. Upon what does Mencken claim the art of American prose is based, in Chapter 9.2?
10. What typically causes the difficulties of the American when hearing the Englishman or vice versa, as explained in Chapter 7.1?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Mencken claims that the true American spirit is to be found not in the textbooks or proclamations of grammarians, but in the vulgar speech of the common people. Discuss this claim in a thoughtful analytical essay. What is the American spirit? Does Mencken clearly present what the American spirit is? Is his a defensible claim? How does the vulgar speech of the common person reflect this spirit? Is there some danger of degradation in linguistic form from prevalence of the vulgar speech? How does the vulgar speech reflect upon the American as a human person?
Essay Topic 2
In describing the ways in which American became a distinct dialect, Mencken ascribes great power to the development of a national literature. Examine the relationship between a national literature and a distinct national dialect. What effect does literature have on its readership? What effect does local speech have on authors? How do authors and the literature they write influence a whole nation? How do they help to make the speech of the whole nation distinct from other nations? What, in particular, emerges from the works of popular authors? What is the overall significance of the relationship between a national literature and a national dialect?
Essay Topic 3
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?
This section contains 2,508 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)