The American Language - Chapter 3.5 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 3.5 Summary

Discussing pronunciation before the Civil War, the author introduces the chapter with a reminder that people like Noah Webster "sneered" at the broad a. This particular pronunciation was, again, considered an "Anglomaniac affectation." However, Webster changed his mind within twenty-five years, Mencken says. Having authority and ordaining the accepted use of the broad a, Webster influenced what is now the current pronunciations of ask, last, master, pastor, and others, adding over the years to handsome, caterpillar, apple, and more. Other authorities protested, but, with the New England schoolmasters in agreement with Webster, the complaints held no weight. Alternately, Mencken tells, Webster failed to influence and gain support for other forms of English pronunciation. His trying to get a word such as deaf pronounced deef, for instance, only lasted a bit.

Chapter 3.5 Analysis

The English Language was protected by the original speakers, so much...

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This section contains 293 words
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The American Language from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.