The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States

By H. L. Mencken | Go to book overview

IV.

AMERICAN AND ENGLISH TODAY

1.
The Two Vocabularies

By way of preliminary to an examination of the American of today, here is a list of terms in everyday use that differ in American and English:

American
English
ash-can dust-bin
ash-cart dust-cart
ashman dustman
backyard garden
baggage luggage
baggage-car luggage-van
ballast (railroad) metal
barbershop barber's-shop
bath-robe dressing-gown
bath-tub bath
beet beet-root
bid (noun) tender
bill-board hoarding
boarder paying-guest
boardwalk (seaside) promenade
boot high-boot
brakeman brakesman
bumper (car) buffer
bureau chest of drawers
calendar (court) cause-list
campaign (political) canvass
can (noun) tin
candy sweets
cane stick
canned-goods tinned-goods
car (railroad) carriage, van or waggon
checkers (game) draughts
chicken-yard fowl-run
chief-clerk head-clerk
chief-of-police chief-constable
city-editor chief-reporter
city-ordinance by-Jaw
clipping (newspaper) cutting
closed-season close-season
coal coals
coal-oil paraffin
3

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The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The American Language - An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States *
  • Contents iii
  • Preface to the First Edition *
  • Preface to the Revised Edition xi
  • I - Introductory *
  • II - The Beginnings of American 45
  • III - The Period of Growth 74
  • IV - American and English Today *
  • V - International Exchanges 157
  • VI - Tendencies in American 173
  • VII - The Standard American Pronunciation 206
  • VIII - American Spelling 221
  • IX - The Common Speech 255
  • X - Proper Names in America 321
  • XI - American Slang 360
  • XII - The Future of the Language 372
  • Appendix 388
  • I - Specimens of the American Vulgate 388
  • II - Non-English Dialects in America 397
  • III - Proverb and Platitude 422
  • Bibliography 427
  • List of Words and Phrases 459
  • Index 483
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