|Name: _________________________||Period: ___________________|
This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. What religious affiliation, commonly held in both countries, has had a larger influence on names in America than in England?
2. Whose "gaping maw" often spoils an "apt and ingenious neologism," according to Mencken in Chapter 11.1?
3. What does Mencken say that a proper understanding of words and their meanings will enable their speaker to do, in Chapter 11.1?
4. What is the name of the professor who advocates the assimilation and alteration of the spelling and accentuation of foreign words?
5. Mencken states that the "Meyers" are the "Smiths" of what country?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
An interesting part of speech, according to the analysis Mencken provides, is that of the pronoun. Already a linguistic shortcut, it becomes the subject of even more reductionist changes. Analyze this tendency in an essay, which thoroughly explicates the modern American pronoun. What is the function of the pronoun? For what does it serve as a substitute? What are its relationships with other parts of speech? How do these various elements tend towards the elision of pronouns with other parts of speech? What is significant about this tendency to elide pronouns?
Essay Topic 2
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?
Essay Topic 3
Through what Mencken claims concerning the nature of slang, in Chapter 11, it could be construed as a microcosm of The American Language as a whole. Write an essay investigating this claim. What are the chief characteristics of any linguistic development? What are the chief characteristics of the development of slang? How are they alike? How are they different? What processes do they undergo? What is significant and mutually relevant in these processes?
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