The American Language - Chapter 1.6 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1.6 Summary

Mencken reiterates that pedagogues waste time classifying American. He claims White and Lounsbury have exhausted it in a most "preposterous" way, and says that though others continue to categorize Americanisms, there are no more to categorize. He cites the work of Pickering, which outlines the origins of Americanisms as 1) having formed new words; 2) having affixed new meaning to old words; and 3) having retained some words from the past, making them common. The author then shows how Bartlett added to Pickering's categories in 1859, adding 1) archaisms; 2) old words with new "senses"; 3) words retaining original meaning in the U.S. but not in England; 4) American adoption of English "provincialisms"; 5) newly coined words; 6) borrowed words; 7) Indian words; 8) "Negroisms"; and 9) peculiarities of pronunciation.

The writer cites University of Amherst's rhetoric professor William C. Fowler, who classifies borrowed terms by a) country of origin; b...

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This section contains 376 words
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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.