The American Language - Study Guide Chapter 8.6 Summary & Analysis

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The author discusses the treatment of loan words by first asserting that English spelling is more conservative than American. He adds that this is so much the case that English critics often denounce national speech usage. They take issue with how the lack of proper assimilation is making their words "un-English." Because of "alien associations," they complain, even words once assimilated and naturalized are "driven back into their foreign forms." For example, "serious" English prose paragraphs are inundated with italicized French, the mere act of printing such is "an active force toward degeneration." The Society threatens to combat by discrediting such acts, and promises to thereby restore to English its old "recreative energy."

Mencken confirms the complaint by citing many examples of how the English must italicize and accent any foreign words they borrow. The...

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This section contains 522 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.