The American Language
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This groundbreaking study clarifies the differences between British and American English and defines the distinguishing characteristics of American English. Cigar-chomping newspaperman H. L. Mencken succeeds not only in providing a lucid description of the American language but also in making his readers laugh, wince, and nod in agreement. It's a readable and fascinating study on why you say "tomayto" and I say "tomahto." A must read for anyone who loves words.
who habitually say I have did and I have saw regard I brung as merely childish or humorous.” But he finds brung as a preterite in Artemus Ward, c. 1865, and in John Neal’s The Down-Easters, 1833, and reports it used as a perfect participle in the last-named and in J. G. Holland’s The Bay Path, 1857. It appears in a list of Appalachian Mountain words in Dialect Notes, Vol. V, Pt. X, 1927, p. 470. 27 Burned, with a distinct d-sound, is almost unknown to the vulgate. 28 Burst is seldom heard. In
upper part of the Mexican State of Sonora there is another speech area, using a dialect somewhat closer to Standard Castilian than that of New Mexico. It has been studied by Dr. Anita C. Post, who took her doctorate at Stanford under Dr. Espinosa.83 Both dialects show a great many resemblances to American-English. There is the same tendency toward the decay of grammatical niceties, the same hospitality to loan-words, the same leaning toward a picturesque vividness, and the same survival of words
kliinasi we cleaned kliinasimme you cleaned kliinasitte they cleaned kliinasivat Future I shall clean kliinaamme you will clean kliinaat he will clean kliinaavat Present Perfect I have cleaned olen kliinannut you have cleaned olet kliinannut he has cleaned on kliinannut we have cleaned olemme kliinannee you have cleaned olette kliinanneet they have cleaned ovat kliinanneet Past Perfect I had cleaned olin kliinannut you had cleaned olit kliinannut he had cleaned oli kliinannut
speaker read a part of Mr. Mencken’s translation of the Declaration of Independence into modern American.” The colonel’s apparently grave acceptance of my burlesque as a serious specimen of “modern American” was matched by a sage calling himself John O’London in Is It Good English?; London, 1924, p. 92. After quoting the opening paragraph of my version, he said solemnly, “I hope ‘these States’ will suppress all such translations.” 56 Chief Constable’s Report for the Year Ended 31st December,
The term appears in Bradford’s “History of Plimouth Plantation” (1647) and in Mourt’s “Relation” (1622). But gradually the adjective fell off, and by the middle of the Eighteenth Century maize was called simply corn and grains in general were called breadstuffs. Thomas Hutchinson, discoursing to George III in 1774, used corn in this restricted sense, speaking of “rye and corn mixed.” “What corn?” asked George. “Indian corn,” explained Hutchinson,” or, as it is called in authors, maize.29 So with