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328 Study Questions: Baugh Chapter Eleven: "The English Language in America"

Vocabulary: 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 Ireland?
What happened in 1848 that caused a mass migration from Germany?

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?

[Bonus Question: How does the toponym Pennsylvania relate to its foundation/origin as a settlement?]

What is Pennsylvania Dutch?

What religious group colonized Maryland? [Hint: consider the toponym.]

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 Northwest Territory?

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 of RP?

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 three?

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 to BaugH?

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 Evans?

[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 American Language?

What is linguistic geography?

What did the Modern Language Association (MLA) propose in 1928?

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 methodology?

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?





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