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. Which of the following is not one of the minor differences Mencken lists in Chapter 8.7?

2. What spelling change is made from English to American in words such as "connection"?

3. Lounsbury is reported as saying that, "The history of language, when looked at from the purely grammatical point of view, is little else than the history of" what?

4. Which word do the English always place prior to the proper noun whereas Americans place it after, as Mencken reports at the end of Chapter 10.3?

5. What does the movement towards the general vowel neutralization promise to do in the future, according to Mencken?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay analyzing the nature of the relationship between the "melting pot" of American immigrant assimilation and the nomenclature that permeates the country. What are the evident influences of foreign languages on American names? How are these names Americanized? What is the general tendency of American-speakers in the employment and application of names to places and people? To what degree are the various names Americanized? What is the cause of Americanization of names? What is its result and what does it indicate about the American spirit?

Essay Topic 2

An important distinction, which Mencken makes in discussing the nature of the American language, is between the proper speech of literate Americans and the common speech of what he calls the proletariat. Write an essay discussing this distinction and its ultimate significance. According to what Mencken has written, is there a genuine distinction between the two? Which of the two does Mencken appear to favor? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each, the proper and the improper, the formal and the informal? What arguments may be made in defense of each?

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?

(see the answer keys)

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