The American Language - Study Guide Chapter 10.1 Summary & Analysis

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Beginning with a 1919 narrative example of how "Americans all" included a list of soldiers' names that House of Representatives members Mondell and Wilson recorded. These names included, for example, Kristopoulos, Hucko, and Intili. Mencken remarks that this "unusual" group of names was compiled to show Congress that the "melting pot really was a melting pot that really melts." He stresses how any other list in America would have such names, making it clear that American people are no longer of pure British stock.

Turning to the New York phone book as reference, Mencken explains the phenomenon. He says that the fourth most common name is Murphy, which is Irish, and the fifth most common is Meyer, which German and/or Jewish. Conversely, a name like Taylor, which is a typical British name ranking fourth in Wales, is the twenty-third most common...

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This section contains 631 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.