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 does Mencken say that a proper understanding of words and their meanings will enable their speaker to do, in Chapter 11.1?

2. In what language does Mencken state the double negative was once "quite respectable?"

3. Which of the following is often used in England to designate a thoroughfare?

4. Which impulse behind American imitation of English orthography is more influential?

5. In which city are the French names of streets reported by Mencken to be beautiful but so barbarously pronounced as to be unrecognizable by a Frenchman?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay investigating the various ways in which language can diverge into two or more dialects, using the principles found in Mencken's The American Language. What are the principal sources of its divergences? What are the primary ways in which it actually diverges? What characterizes these divergences? How is this shown, particularly, in the American dialect?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

A major part of the analysis of linguistic development provided by Mencken in The American Language is the relationship between language and the territory in which it changes. Construct a well-formed analytical essay that investigates this connection. What are the reasons behind it? What are the consequences of this connection in England and in America? How can territorial linguistic development be seen in the various regions of America? What is the common ground between change and territory upon which this connection is founded?

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