The American Language - Chapter 6.1 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 6.1 Summary

To introduce a study of tendencies in American-English, Mencken begins with what he cites is the spirit of America. He defines Americans as having 1) a general impatience of rule and restraint, 2) a democratic enmity to all authority, 3) an extravagant and often grotesque humor, and 4) an extraordinary capacity for metaphor. These characteristics, he suggests, "nourish" their language. He also reminds that as open, independent, and defiant as Americans appear, they are also conservative, cautious, and fearful of some particulars. As he quotes Wendell Phillips, Americans fear isolation, derision, and "all the consequences of singularity." The latter tendencies, toward purism, suspicion, and dread, however, are overcome. They are of the minority, Mencken notes, and they are overshadowed by a nationalistic view and a language that reflects that solidified view.

Chapter 6.1 Analysis

The author reiterates earlier observations of the general characteristics that make Americans who they...

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This section contains 298 words
(approx. 1 page 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.