328 Study Questions: Baugh Chapter Eleven:
"The English Language in America"
dialect, Americanism, isogloss, black vernacular, consuetudinal
be, Gullah dialect, chicano/-a writers, latino/-a
writers, code-switching, colloquialism, lexicon, MLA, informants,
transformational rules, generative grammar, structural grammar.
Abbreviations: AAVE, PADS, MLA
Identifications: Noah Webster, William
Cullen Bryant's "Index Expurgatorius," Franz Boas,
Edward Sapir, Leonard Bloomfield, Noam Chomsky
11.238 Baugh divides American English
into three general periods:
- Colonial Period--1607-1787
- Expansion west of the Appalachians--1790-1860s
- Post-Civil War to modern period
The first is the "Colonial Period." Why does
Baugh designate "1787" as a convenient marker
for the Colonial period's ending in America? Why does he
suggest 1790 is a suitable alternative?
What happened in 1845 that caused a mass immigration from
What happened in 1848 that caused a mass migration
How did migration patterns change in the 1890s and afterwards--i.e.,
where did most immigrants come from after this time--as
opposed to in earlier centuries?
How many Italians migrated to America every year just before
World War I?
How many African-American citizens live in the United States
today according to Baugh? Given that Baugh's third edition
and second edition of our textbook lists the same number
in 1978 and in 1957, what do you make of this statistic?
11.239 In the thirteen colonies, around
where were the original Puritan settlements clustered? (i.e.,
what geographic feature?)
What two reasons drove later English colonists to migrate
away from Massachusetts?
What ethnic group originally settled in New York before
it was seized by the English?
How does the toponym Pennsylvania relate to its foundation/origin
as a settlement?]
What is Pennsylvania Dutch?
What religious group colonized Maryland? [Hint: consider
Half the population of Louisianna was African-American.
Of the remaining population, what three ethnic groups made
up the difference?
What huge engineering project in 1825 in New England and
upper New York greatly facilitated migration into the Old
11.241 What purchase in 1803 opened up
huge territories for colonization beyond the Mississippi?
List any two factors that increased migration westward
in the 19th century?
11.242 Did the various ethnic groups in
the regions mentioned earlier tend to settle in one location
for a single generation, settle in one location for several
generations, or did they tend to move around to other locations?
How did the mobility of early settlers influence the uniformity
of American English?
11.243 If the first quality of American
English is (compared to British English), a marked conformity
of dialects, what is the second quality Baugh attributes
to American English as a general trait?
How do Brits typically react to the American use of gotten
as opposed to got as past participle?
Explain the comparison Baugh makes between a transplanted
language and a transplanted tree.
11.244 List any example of a Native American
loanword adopted into American English.
Give an example of an older English word adapted into American
English for a new American context.
11.245 As Americans became conscious of
themselves as a separate nation, and as they increasingly
desired their own national identity, what did an anonymous
American propose as an intistution in America?
[Food for thought: how is this similar to earlier proposals
when England was becoming aware of itself as a national
identity and feeling a cultural inferiority complex next
to the grandeur of France in the 18th century?]
11.246 During the days before America
succeeded in achieving independence, for generations, America
imported their books, ideas, and vocabulary from where?
What important publication in two 1828 quartos radically
established a separate identity for American English apart
from British Engish?
Why does Webster feel it is politically important for Americans
in the thirteen separate colonies to establish one common
standard of American English?
11.247 To whom do we owe most of our American
English spellings that vary from British English spellings?
Provide one example of how Noah Webster introduced an innovation
in American English spelling.
Why did Noah Webster's innovations probably "stick"
when so many other spelling reforms have failed?
11.248 [no questions]
11.249 What are some of the changes that
have occurred between American English pronunciation and
British English pronunciation generally?
What is a flat a and a broad a? Which
pronunciation is more typical of American English?
How is the American pronunciation of r different
than the pronunciation of r in the British dialect
How is the American pronuncition of o slightly
different than the British pronunciation of o?
What do Americans do very clearly with unaccented syllables
that the British tend not to do?
11.250 In the old days of early linguistic
study, what were the three dialects America English was
normally divided into?
When Dr. Kurath published his Word Geography of the
Eastern United States, how many specific speech areas
did he identify along the East Coast besides the general
Consider the dialects appearing below in Baugh's list:
- Eastern New England
- New York
- Upper North
- Lower North / or North Midlands
- Upper South / or South Midlands
- Lower South i.e., "The Deep South"
- General American
- African American Vernacular
Which of these dialects corresponds to "Appalachian"?
Why is the concept of a "General American" dialect
controversial among linguists?
Why might the concept of Black Vernacular be "more
misleading than useful," as Baugh puts it?
Controversy has shifted among creole scholars from (1)
the question of the extent to which Black Vernacular can
be traced to British or creole origins, to (2) whether black
and white vernaculars are doing what?
List any two features of Black Vernacular.
Explain the consuetudinal be.
How many Chicano English speakers does Baugh suggest currently
reside in the United States?
What is code-switching?
11.251 Who first coined the term "Americanism"?
What does it mean?
What was the knock-down, drag-out fight between John Pickering
and Noah Webster about?
Up to what time or historic even did the United States
tend to defer to Britain in matters of grammar, according
11.252 What is ironic about British purists
who chastised America for producing "barbarisms"
like the words talented, science, or predicated?
The New York Times was terribly upset by Webster's Third
New International Dictionary in 1961--which included
neologisms like "finalize" and "normalize."
What was ironic about the New York Times's announcement
that it would refuse to use the third edition and stick
with the second edition of 1934, as pointed out by Bergen
[Food for thought:
what makes grammatical purism so attractive to a variety
of generations across a variety of times?]
11.253 Aside from pronunciation, according
to Baugh, what is the chief measure of how far American
English has come to differ from British English?
Provide three examples Baugh lists of an American vocabulary
term that means something quite different in English.
11.254 Give some examples of words or
phrases coined first in America that have now achieved general
acceptance in British English.
11.255 What is the American Dialect Society
and what is the current names of the journal it produces?
What was the effect of H. L. Mencken's 500-page book, The
What is linguistic geography?
What did the Modern Language Association (MLA) propose
What does Labov argue about studies linking a lack of verbal
ability and logic in nonstandard English users?
What work in 1933 has proven to be the most important work
on general linguistics in the first half of the twentieth-century?
Who wrote it? How is this work a turning point in linguistic
How is Noam Chomsky's approach to linguistics different
than that of Bloomfield?
According to Baugh and Cable, what point do critics miss
when they argue that generative grammars are not based on
empirical surveys of actual language use?
What does "Mid-Atlantic English" refer to? What
does "Euro-English" refer to?
What are the traits of Euro-English?