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. What name is the Italian "Giuseppe" transformed into?

2. Who is the author of "A Doll's House," who puts bad grammar into Nora Helmar's mouth?

3. As what part of speech does vulgar American consider the word "self" within the spirit of the language?

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

5. Which word do the English always place prior to the proper noun whereas Americans place it after, as Mencken reports at the end of Chapter 10.3?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

An important distinction, which Mencken makes in discussing the nature of the American language, is between the proper speech of literate Americans and the common speech of what he calls the proletariat. Write an essay discussing this distinction and its ultimate significance. According to what Mencken has written, is there a genuine distinction between the two? Which of the two does Mencken appear to favor? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each, the proper and the improper, the formal and the informal? What arguments may be made in defense of each?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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