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. In what dialect of English is "slick" used synonymously with "sleek" according to Chapter 9.10?

2. What is frequently omitted in phrases indicated desire or intent, as indicated in Chapter 9.9?

3. What religious affiliation, commonly held in both countries, has had a larger influence on names in America than in England?

4. According to Mencken, Italians often take the names of what nationality when they marry?

5. From which of the following have the English changed their spelling?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In describing the ways in which American became a distinct dialect, Mencken ascribes great power to the development of a national literature. Examine the relationship between a national literature and a distinct national dialect. What effect does literature have on its readership? What effect does local speech have on authors? How do authors and the literature they write influence a whole nation? How do they help to make the speech of the whole nation distinct from other nations? What, in particular, emerges from the works of popular authors? What is the overall significance of the relationship between a national literature and a national 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

Of all the various ways in which the American and British dialects are divergent, perhaps the most obvious is the distinct spellings of words. Analyze the significance of this distinction and put forth an argument in support of one or the other spelling paradigm. How do the two dialects go about determining the spelling of a word? What are the principles that ought to be at work in the conventional acceptance of a word's spelling? Which of these principles is the most important? To which principles does each dialect adhere? What is the greater significance of this adherence?

(see the answer keys)

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