The American Language Test | 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

One of the hardest aspects of any language that is almost impossible to classify is the nuances of pronunciation. Write an essay analyzing the problems caused by the varieties and degrees of pronunciation. Have the difficulties it causes those who study the American language. What is the definition of pronunciation? How does Mencken treat of pronunciation? What are the ways in which it may change an auditor's understanding of a language? How is the American pronunciation divergent from the British? What particularities of the American pronunciation are significant in comprehension of the American language?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Much of Mencken's The American Language is devoted to the study of expansion of the American vocabulary. Write an essay examining the various sources and means by which new words enter the American dialect, as well as the impact they have. From where do new words come? What prompts the admission of new words into the vocabulary? What languages have had the most influence on the American vocabulary? What does the American dialect do with its new words? What are the effects that new words can and do have on the American dialect? Be sure to use specific examples.

(see the answer keys)

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