|Name: _________________________||Period: ___________________|
This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. According to Chapter 8.4, what is the first impulse behind American imitation of English orthography?
2. 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?
3. According to Mencken, the English opposition to American spelling transcends the academic and takes on the character of what?
4. 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"?
5. From what language is "gob" reputed to be derived in Chapter 11.2?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
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?
Essay Topic 2
Although American had changed drastically by the time Mencken wrote The American Language, in 1921, it has clearly changed drastically since then, as well. Examine, in an analytical essay, some of the more significant changes since then. What new words have come into popular usage? What then popular Americanisms have faded out almost altogether? Has the language changed as significantly since 1921 as it did between any other comparable span of time? If so, defend your answer with specific examples. Finally, what is the characteristic of the American language as revealed by comparing its present state with that it was characterized by Mencken as having when he wrote The American Language?
Essay Topic 3
A significant contributor to the present state of the American language is the influx of foreign words, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Compose an essay analyzing the impact and influences of these various foreign words. What particular contributions have they made to the language? How do they reflect the overall composition of the American populace? How have these words themselves changed? How have they changed the language overall? How do all of these changes indicate the tendencies of the American English dialect?
This section contains 437 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)