The Story of English Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Robert McCrum
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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. How many people spoke English in Shakespeare's time?

2. For what newspaper is Robert McCrum listed as Literary Editor in the Introduction?

3. Who wrote Treasure Island?

4. Robert McCrum was Editor-in-Chief of what publishing house from 1979-1996?

5. Scots is one of the oldest and most interesting varieties of English dating back to which centuries?

Short Essay Questions

1. What myths do the authors dispel about the English language in Chapter 1, An English-Speaking World?

2. How many definitions were in the original Johnson's dictionary? What was it drawn from?

3. How do we know how the English language sounded hundreds of years ago? What do the authors relate about grammatical shifts in the Introduction?

4. What is the difficulty of explaining sounds of language, according to the authors? What resources can help the reader in grasping dialect?

5. What examples do the authors give in Chapter 1, An English-Speaking World for the history of success of the English language?

6. Who was William Shakespeare and what impact did he have on the English language?

7. What do the authors write of the New World and its influence on English in Chapter 2, The Mother Tongue?

8. What impact did the printing press and the scientific revolution have on the English language?

9. What myths relating to the English language do the authors hope to dispel, according to the Introduction?

10. When did the Scottish dialect fall into decline? What led to its standardization?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the English language in comparison with others, such as German, French, or Spanish. What makes English easier or harder to learn? How do grammatical rules differ?

Essay Topic 2

How can we know how the English language sounded hundreds of years ago? What resources do we have today to examine and analyze dialects? What changes have made this possible?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the plight of the Scottish people throughout the Dark Ages. What were the effects of the invasions upon Scotland's people, culture, and language?

(see the answer keys)

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