The American Language

H. L. MENCKEN (1880 - 1956)

"It was part of my daily work, for a good many years, to read the principal English newspapers and reviews; it has been part of my work, all the time, to read the more important English novels, essays, poetry and criticism. An American born and bred, I early noted, as everyone else in like case must note, certain salient differences between the English of England and the English of America as practically spoken and written—differences in vocabulary, in syntax, in the shades and habits of idiom, and even, coming to the common speech, in grammar. And I noted too, of course, partly during visits to England but more largely by a somewhat wide and intimate intercourse with English people in the United States, the obvious differences between English and American pronunciation and intonation. Greatly interested in these differences—some of them so great that they led me to seek exchanges of light with Englishmen—I looked for some work that would describe and account for them with a show of completeness, and perhaps depict the process of their origin. I soon found that no such work existed, either in England or in America—that the whole literature of the subject was astonishingly meagre and unsatisfactory." - Summary by Mencken (Preface)

Genre(s): Literary Criticism, Writing & Linguistics

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Preface DrPGould
00:08:58
Play 01 Ch1 By Way of Introduction Pt 1The Diverging Streams Mike Pelton
00:09:52
Play 02 Ch1 By Way of Introduction Pt 2 The Academic Attitude tommack
00:19:30
Play 03 Ch1 By Way of Introduction Pt 3 The View of Writing Men Bruce Pirie
00:16:11
Play 04 Ch1 By Way of Introduction Pt 4 Foreign Observers Bruce Pirie
00:04:37
Play 05 Ch1 By Way of Introduction Pt 5 The Characters of American Devorah Allen
00:22:13
Play 06 Ch1 By Way of Introduction Pt 6 The Materials of American Devorah Allen
00:15:47
Play 07 Ch2 The Beginnings of American Pt 1 In Colonial Days Joseph Tabler
00:11:02
Play 08 Ch2 The Beginnings of American Pt 2 Sources of Early Americanisms Devorah Allen
00:11:29
Play 09 Ch2 The Beginnings of American Pt 3 New Words of English Material ToddHW
00:17:36
Play 10 Ch2 The Beginnings of American Pt 4 Changed Meanings ToddHW
00:07:23
Play 11 Ch2 The Beginnings of American Pt 5 Archaic English Words ToddHW
00:07:40
Play 12 Ch2 The Beginnings of American Pt 6 Colonial Pronunciation realisticspeakers
00:11:32
Play 13 Ch3 The Period of Growth Pt 1 The New Nation DrPGould
00:21:57
Play 14 Ch3 The Period of Growth Pt 2 The Language in the Making DrPGould
00:09:44
Play 15 Ch3 The Period of Growth Pt 3 The Expanding Vocabulary Linda Johnson
00:34:16
Play 16 Ch3 The Period of Growth Pt 4 Loan-Words Linda Johnson
00:29:23
Play 17 Ch3 The Period of Growth Pt 5 Pronunciation Linda Johnson
00:06:52
Play 18 Ch4 American and English Today Pt 1 The Two Vocabularies DrPGould
00:18:29
Play 19 Ch4 American and English Today Pt 2 Differences in Usage tommack
00:40:53
Play 20 Ch4 American and English Today Pt 3 Honorifics tommack
00:16:45
Play 21 Ch4 American and English Today Pt 4 Euphemisms and Forbidden Words Austin Lim
00:20:51
Play 22 Ch5 Tendencies in American Pt 1 International Exchanges Bruce Pirie
00:20:35
Play 23 Ch5 Tendencies in American Pt 2 Points of Difference Bruce Pirie
00:13:36
Play 24 Ch5 Tendencies in American Pt 3 Lost Distinctions Bruce Pirie
00:19:01
Play 25 Ch5 Tendencies in American Pt 4 Foreign Influences Today DrPGould
00:24:26
Play 26 Ch5 Tendencies in American Pt 5 Processes of Word Formation realisticspeakers
00:22:49
Play 27 Ch5 Tendencies in American Pt 6 Pronunciation Linda Johnson
00:28:38
Play 28 Ch6 The Common Speech Pt 1 Grammarians and Their Ways realisticspeakers
00:21:44
Play 29 Ch6 The Common Speech Pt 2 Spoken American As It Is Bruce Pirie
00:21:55
Play 30 Ch6 The Common Speech Pt 3 The Verb DrPGould
00:56:25
Play 31 Ch6 The Common Speech Pt 4 The Pronoun DrPGould
00:36:40
Play 32 Ch6 The Common Speech Pt 5 The Adverb Bruce Pirie
00:10:09
Play 33 Ch6 The Common Speech Pt 6 The Noun and Adjective Bruce Pirie
00:06:37
Play 34 Ch6 The Common Speech Pt 7 The Double Negative Devorah Allen
00:08:23
Play 35 Ch6 The Common Speech Pt 8 Pronunciation Linda Johnson
00:21:56
Play 36 Ch 7 Differences in Spelling Pt 1 Typical Forms DrPGould
00:21:43
Play 37 Ch 7 Differences in Spelling Pt 2 General Tendencies Linda Johnson
00:08:14
Play 38 Ch 7 Differences in Spelling Pt 3 The Influence of Webster realisticspeakers
00:28:30
Play 39 Ch 7 Differences in Spelling Pt 4 Exchanges Linda Johnson
00:21:49
Play 40 Ch 7 Differences in Spelling Pt 5 Simplified spelling Linda Johnson
00:11:06
Play 41 Ch 7 Differences in Spelling Pt 6 Minor Differences Linda Johnson
00:10:23
Play 42 Ch8 Proper Names in America Pt 1 Surnames Linda Johnson
00:49:47
Play 43 Ch8 Proper Names in America Pt 2 Given Names Linda Johnson
00:10:09
Play 44 Ch8 Proper Names in America Pt 3 Geographical Names realisticspeakers
00:41:07
Play 45 Ch8 Proper Names in America Pt 4 Street Names Linda Johnson
00:06:56
Play 46 Ch9 Miscellanea Pt 1 Proverb and Platitude Larry Wilson
00:07:13
Play 47 Ch9 Miscellanea Pt 2 American Slang Bruce Pirie
00:23:47
Play 48 Ch9 Miscellanea Pt 3 The Future of the Language realisticspeakers
00:24:36