American Language

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Study by H. L. Mencken, published originally in 1919, in revised editions in 1921 and 1923, and corrected, enlarged, and rewritten for its fourth edition,1936, with supplementary volumes in 1945 and 1948. This “inquiry into the development of English in the United States” was begun in articles in the Baltimore Evening Sun as early as 1910 to investigate the differences between American and English, but by 1936 Mencken was convinced that the influence of American had become so strong that in “some not too remote tomorrow” the language of Englishmen will be “a kind of dialect of American, just as the language spoken by the American was once a dialect of English.” In his investigation Mencken first treats his subject chronologically, then takes up specific elements, such as pronunciation, spelling, grammar, and slang. He also deals with proper names and with non-English dialects in the U.S.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

H. L. Mencken (1880—1956) American journalist and literary critic