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 still-popular German given name survives today, with a slight change in spelling, as Mencken reports in Chapter 10.2?

2. Which of the following is one of the three great causes of change in language according to Sayce, as reported in Chapter 9.3?

3. What was the Anglo-Saxon form of the modern-day word "my," according to Mencken in Chapter 9.4?

4. Whose "gaping maw" often spoils an "apt and ingenious neologism," according to Mencken in Chapter 11.1?

5. From what language is "gob" reputed to be derived in Chapter 11.2?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Write an essay investigating the various ways in which language can diverge into two or more dialects, using the principles found in Mencken's The American Language. What are the principal sources of its divergences? What are the primary ways in which it actually diverges? What characterizes these divergences? How is this shown, particularly, in the American dialect?

Essay Topic 3

The primary conflict voiced by Mencken in The American Language is that which exists between the spirit of linguistic conservationism and a spirit of linguistic innovation. Analyze this conflict as it is presented throughout the book and report insightfully on the strengths and weaknesses of each spirit. How is each spirit superior to the other? How is it inferior? Is there a valid argument to be made in favor absolutely of one or the other? What arguments may be presented in support of each? What are the arguments that may be presented against each? Is there a plausible compromise that may be made between the two?

(see the answer keys)

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