The Mother Tongue Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Bill Bryson
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. From which tribe does England get its name?

2. What historical occurrence is explored in Chapter 6?

3. What combines with vowels to make pronunciation rules difficult to define?

4. All English speakers can understand each other despite ______________________________.

5. On what principle are cliches based?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is learning the English language considered a large industry in the world?

2. Explain the impact that slurring of speech has on English pronunciation?

3. How did the English language evolve in the British Isles or what is now known as the United Kingdom?

4. What does the author say is the reason some English words are created?

5. How was the Cro-Magnon man able to supersede the Neanderthal man in human development?

6. What is the frustration of attempting to organize information about English in North America?

7. What seems to be a long-term benefit of a phonetic system as opposed to a pictograph system?

8. What irony does the author point out in Americans emulating British English?

9. How does the English language compare with the development and growth of other global languages?

10. What event prompted the usage of standardized spelling in England?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explain the debate on the challenges of learning the English language. Take into account spelling, pronunciation, grammar rules, etc.

Essay Topic 2

Explain the challenges of publishing a dictionary. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to hard copy and digital versions. Can you offer any alternative solutions?

Essay Topic 3

One of the major issues that Bryson emphasizes throughout the book is that no higher authority controls the English language. Imagine that you could invent such an authoritative organization and outline its mission statement as well as its strategic and tactical plans.

(see the answer keys)

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