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The American Language Chapter Summary & Analysis - Chapter 11.1 Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 123 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The American Language.
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Chapter 11.1 Summary

In his penultimate chapter, Mencken discusses American slang. He begins by noting that only one "extremely superficial" work exists on this part of language thus far; and he remarks that without studies of slang, American philology will "remain out of contact with the American language." The author then launches into an analysis of the social implications of slang. He quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes, who finds that the use of slang indicates "mental atrophy," and cites Ambrose Bierce's attitude toward slang users as those who "rob literary garbage cans on their way to the dumps."

The few efforts to study slang are made, he says, by those who attempt to define it. This is futile, for words once proper have been used as slang and words once considered slang have crossed over into everyday accepted use. Further, he claims, those...

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This section contains 659 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The American Language Study Guide
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The American Language from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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