The American Language Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which is the first factor that Mencken identifies as an immediate impediment to the growth of the American language in Chapter 3.1?

2. What word in American is used for the English word "shoe?"

3. Whose clarity of prevision does Mencken praise in the opening of Chapter 1.1?

4. Who "tries" a legal case in England?

5. What does Mencken list as dominant the English alternative for the word "mail"?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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"?

3. What two principal sources does Mencken identify as adding new words to the American English in Chapter 2.2?

4. As explained in Chapter 6.4, why are Americans more conceding to foreign loan-words than the English are?

5. Upon what does Mencken claim the art of American prose is based, in Chapter 9.2?

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

7. What typically causes the difficulties of the American when hearing the Englishman or vice versa, as explained in Chapter 7.1?

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

9. In what does Mencken evidently delight concerning the speech of American, in Chapter 1.5?

10. What is Mencken's chief critique of the classifications that he reports in Chapter 1.6?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

A major part of the analysis of linguistic development provided by Mencken in The American Language is the relationship between language and the territory in which it changes. Construct a well-formed analytical essay that investigates this connection. What are the reasons behind it? What are the consequences of this connection in England and in America? How can territorial linguistic development be seen in the various regions of America? What is the common ground between change and territory upon which this connection is founded?

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