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The American Language Chapter Summary & Analysis - Chapter 3.3 Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 123 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The American Language.
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Chapter 3.3 Summary

The American vocabulary was expanding, based in large part on coining - done by both literary and non-literary Americans. Mencken offers numerous examples of characteristic coinage, providing proof of how Americans changed words and meaning by 1) turning nouns into verbs; 2) extending meanings of conventional words; 3) turning verbs into new state-of-being nouns; 4) creating new verb phrases to capture complex thought; 5) coining new adjectives; 6) assigning new uses to adjectives; and 7) replacing words with new words or similes.

Mencken claims the adjectives and verbs were less often changed or modified than the substantives were. Of the gaudiest of inventions were those words necessary to define and describe new objects, relations, circumstances, events, ideas, and expressions. The author determines that aside from loan words, which he offers to discuss later, there are three varieties of nouns created by the early Americans, a) words "rescued from obsolescence or changed in meaning...

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This section contains 662 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The American Language Study Guide
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The American Language from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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