The American Language - Chapter 6.2 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 6.2 Summary

Of all the ways American iconoclasm reveals itself, the author asserts, one way is especially clear: the general disdain for "the niceties of Modern English." He gives examples showing how the American neglects otherwise important speech distinctions. He explains how natural forces, not etymology, contribute to this disregard of proper language. Besides being a "confection of grammarians," he says, further quoting the Fowlers, "idiomatic use of auxiliaries, [for example, will and shall]...is so complicated that those who are not to the manner born can hardly acquire it." Further, even those "to the manor born" have difficulty with the demands of orthodox language. Nevertheless, Mencken says, the examples of grappling or defying language conventions yield new class distinctions - between those who speak orthodox, pure English and those who ignore such distinctions.

Chapter 6.2 Analysis

Mencken maintains that Americans ignore...

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This section contains 279 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.