The American Language Test | Lesson Plans Final Test - Hard

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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. From what newspaper does Mencken derive the story with which he opens Chapter 11.2?

2. To what do English writers usually ascribe the American custom of numbering and lettering streets?

3. Which phrase did Oliver Wendell Holmes use to describe the state of the person who makes use of slang?

4. Which of the following is the analogate to which Mencken compares the slang words overused by the ignorant?

5. Which of the following is one of the three great causes of change in language according to Sayce, as reported in Chapter 9.3?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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