|Name: _________________________||Period: ___________________|
This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. What is the name of the professor who advocates the assimilation and alteration of the spelling and accentuation of foreign words?
2. According to Mencken, the English opposition to American spelling transcends the academic and takes on the character of what?
3. Which organization produced a prospectus in 1913 that warned against extreme English conservatism in the spelling of foreign loan-words?
4. Which of the following does Mencken not list as a once-slang word turned into one commonly accepted?
5. What purpose does the double negative primarily serve?
Essay Topic 1
Unlike nouns and adjectives, Mencken devotes considerable inquiry to the nature and alteration of verb forms in The American Language. Write an essay explaining the attention that Mencken pays to verbs. What role do they fulfill in communication? Why do its particular forms change more rapidly than other parts of speech? What does this rapid changing indicate about the relationship between language and circumstance/culture? How do verbs typically change? What is significant about the manner in which they typically change?
Essay Topic 2
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 3
Compose an essay analyzing the Americanization of foreign names, as presented in The American Language. How are they Americanized? What characterizes the Americanization of surnames? What characterizes the Americanization of given names? What influences their Americanization? Why are they Americanized? What is lost by their Americanization? What is the result of this tendency to conformity?
This section contains 1,962 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)