The American Language

by H. L. Mencken
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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 240

Create a glossary of terms for a subject area not covered in The American Language. For example, you may want to create a glossary of teenage slang or technology terms. Add an introduction in which you give some background or historical information about the terms.

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Choose another aspect of culture, besides language, and explain how America has differentiated itself from England in that area of life. You may choose to write about fashion, entertainment, literature, or government. Prepare a presentation tracing and explaining the development of the differences over time.

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Latest answer posted March 14, 2019, 10:25 am (UTC)

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Research ebonics, a method of teaching based on Black English. Based on your understanding of the arguments for and against this approach, what do you think Mencken would think about it? Write a letter to a newspaper editor as if you were Mencken, describing your opinions on the matter.

Linguistics is a lesser-known field of study but one with many practical applications. Interview (in person or by phone or email) a college professor of linguistics to learn about the scope and importance of this discipline. You may want to ask about the future of linguistics, too.

Review chapter six, in which Mencken discusses euphemisms and forbidden words. Consider his comments in the modern context of political correctness. Do you see any differences between the examples Mencken provides and what you see in today's society? What value, if any, do you see in shaping language to avoid offending or belittling anyone?

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