The American Language - Chapter 8.4 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 8.4 Summary

The writer explains the imitation of English orthography with two impulses: 1) the colonial desire to "pass as English" and 2) the American publishers' desire to find a workable spelling compromise between the two countries. Before copyright laws and the treaty between America and England, the British feared an infiltration of American-printed books and periodicals and the subsequent "corruption of English spelling." The fear was assuaged, however, as the English publishers held to a conservatism and forced Americans to compromise.

Chapter 8.4 Analysis

The challenges of developing their own orthography and imitating their English counterparts are apparent in Mencken's examples. For instance, the people of Bar Harbor would keep their shop and letterhead spellings as Bar Harbour; but the postmaster would stamp all mail Bar Harbor, or the "legal" spelling of the town. For the most part, however, publishers, haberdashers, theatre groups, and others...

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This section contains 206 words
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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.