The American Language - Chapter 1.1 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1.1 Summary

In the first introductory chapter, author H. L. Mencken begins by quoting Thomas Jefferson, who foresaw a "new American dialect," based on new circumstances that would call for "new words, new phrases, and for the transfer of old words to new objects." Mencken then takes the concept of an inevitably changing language back to Noah Webster's theories that held similar predictions based on "a new country, new associations of people, new combinations of ideas in arts and sciences, and some intercourse with tribes wholly unknown in Europe. The author introduces his approach to English by discussing the trends of language development and its nature to change based on the evolution of people speaking that language.

Americans now know more about England and therefore more about how English evolves because they read more, learn more from newspapers, and travel more than did early...

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This section contains 520 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The American Language Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
The American Language from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.