The American Language - Study Guide Chapter 9.10 Summary & Analysis

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The author opens with the caveat that, before beginning a study of speech sounds, it is imperative to carefully gather the materials. He regrets this approach "still awaits" a qualified and well-equipped phonologist. He concedes to naming a few select examiners of speech particulars, but faults them for lack of scope. Further, for Mencken, the required plotting of general speech characteristics stays wanting for existing dictionaries deal with pronunciation either too loosely or inaccurately, and other literature is insufficient. Therefore, he admits, whatever examination he does will be less than exact.

The writer then points out two "streams" of influence on vulgar American pronunciation: 1) inheritance from the colonial Americans and 2) that which comes spontaneously and from immigrant-influences. He continues with commentary on how the first influence is dying out, its diphthongs and misplaced vowels surviving for only so long until grammarians fight to...

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This section contains 673 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.