The American Language Test | Final Test - Hard

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

Short Answer Questions

1. Which double negative word is primarily found in Shakespeare?

2. In what region of the United States are Spanish names corrupted, as Dutch names are in New York?

3. Who published a work in 1768 entitled "Scheme for a New Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling, with Remarks and Examples Concerning the Same, and an Enquiry into its Uses"?

4. In what part of the country did the Irish attain to a "truly impressive political power before the first native-born generation of them had grown up" as Mencken states in Chapter 10.1?

5. What is the name of the professor who advocates the assimilation and alteration of the spelling and accentuation of foreign words?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of Mencken's The American Language is devoted to the study of expansion of the American vocabulary. Write an essay examining the various sources and means by which new words enter the American dialect, as well as the impact they have. From where do new words come? What prompts the admission of new words into the vocabulary? What languages have had the most influence on the American vocabulary? What does the American dialect do with its new words? What are the effects that new words can and do have on the American dialect? Be sure to use specific examples.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Part of the driving force behind the divergence of American from British, is what Americans rather distinctly desire to express in language, according to Mencken. Write an essay discussing these desires of which Mencken implicitly speaks. What is the American concerned with in his language? What obstacles in linguistic form can stand between him and his desires? What then happens to these obstacles? What happens to language overall? Are there any dangers in these tendencies? If so, what are they? What is the fundamental relationship between the desires of a populace and their linguistic form?

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