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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. What does Mencken state is neglected by those who are professional trained to investigate it?
2. In what language did the American derivative "coyote" originate?
3. Who is the author of "Travels in North America," published in 1827?
4. What is the principal reason Mencken states that the English language has not greatly diverged since the foundation of the United States of America?
5. According to Mencken at the beginning of Chapter 1.3, what do the novelists and newspapermen on either side of the Atlantic ocean delight in?
Short Essay Questions
1. What influence does Mencken credit the Protestant Episcopal Church with about American adoption of Briticisms?
2. In what ways is the noun principally abused in vulgar American?
3. Characterize the intentions and effects of the renaming done by the Geographical Board, according to Mencken.
4. Under what situation does language undergo great changes and renew its vitality, according to Mencken in Chapter 9.1?
5. What typifies the difference in the use of honorifics between Americans and the English?
6. In what does Mencken evidently delight concerning the speech of American, in Chapter 1.5?
7. What typically causes the difficulties of the American when hearing the Englishman or vice versa, as explained in Chapter 7.1?
8. In general, how did Noah Webster influence American pronunciation?
9. What was the predominant attitude of philologists towards the study of American slang, at the time of Mencken's writing?
10. What two principal sources does Mencken identify as adding new words to the American English in Chapter 2.2?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
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?
Essay Topic 2
An implicit premise throughout Mencken's work is that of the influence the overall national character and spirit has on the formation of a language. Write an essay discussing and analyzing the possibility and evidence of this connection. What are the national characters of Americans and Englishmen? How is this shown in their languages? What influence do these character traits have on linguistic formulations and habits of the people? What are some specific examples by which this influence can be seen? What is the ultimate significance of this connection?
Essay Topic 3
One of the hardest aspects of any language that is almost impossible to classify is the nuances of pronunciation. Write an essay analyzing the problems caused by the varieties and degrees of pronunciation. Have the difficulties it causes those who study the American language. What is the definition of pronunciation? How does Mencken treat of pronunciation? What are the ways in which it may change an auditor's understanding of a language? How is the American pronunciation divergent from the British? What particularities of the American pronunciation are significant in comprehension of the American language?
This section contains 904 words
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