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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. What sort of distinction frequently occurs between an adverb and its primary adjective?
2. From what newspaper does Mencken derive the story with which he opens Chapter 11.2?
3. Which of the following does Mencken not list as a once-slang word turned into one commonly accepted?
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. Who does Mencken state are the true makers of grammar in Chapter 9.1?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Unlike nouns and adjectives, Mencken devotes considerable inquiry to the nature and alteration of verb forms in The American Language. Write an essay explaining the attention that Mencken pays to verbs. What role do they fulfill in communication? Why do its particular forms change more rapidly than other parts of speech? What does this rapid changing indicate about the relationship between language and circumstance/culture? How do verbs typically change? What is significant about the manner in which they typically change?
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
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?
This section contains 393 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)