The American Language

“(1919, 1921, 1923, 1936; Supplement One, 1945; Supplement Two, 1948; 4th ed, abridged with supplements annotations, and new material by Raven I. McDavid, Jr., 1963) A philological treatise by H.L. Mencken. Believing at first that the American language and English were diverging, Mencken found that, by 1923, American English had become the more powerful tongue and was leading British English along with it. He set out to examine the two streams of language and their differences in vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation. His study gave particular attention to American slang, proper names, and the incorporation of non-English dialects in America. Ironically, Mencken’s work won him a place among the scholars he had attacked and scorned.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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