H.L. Mencken (18801956). The American Language. 1921.
G. A. Barringer.45 That, even to the lay Continental, American and English now differ considerably, is demonstrated by the fact that many of the popular German Sprachführer appear in separate editions, Amerikanisch and Englisch. This is true, for example, of the Metoula-Sprachführer46 and of the Polyglott Kuntze books.47 The American edition of the latter starts off with the doctrine that Jeder, der nach Nord-Amerika oder Australien will, muss Englisch können, but a great many of the words and phrases that appear in its examples would be unintelligible to most Englishmene. g., free-lunch, real-estate agent, buckwheat, corn (for maize), conductor and popcornand a number of others would suggest false meanings or otherwise puzzlee. g., saloon, wash-stand, water-pitcher and apple-pie.48 In the Neokosmos Sprachführer durch England-Amerika49 there are many notes calling attention to differences between American and English usage, e. g., baggage-luggage, car-carriage, conductor-guard. The authors are also forced to enter into explanations of the functions of the boots in an English hotel and of the clerk in an American hotel, and they devote a whole section, now mainly archaic, to a discourse upon the nature and uses of such American beverages as Whiskey-sours, Martini-cocktails, silver-fizzes, John-Collinses, and ice-cream sodas.50 In other Continental works of the same sort there is a like differentiation between English and American. Baedeker follows suit. In his guide-book to the United States, prepared for Englishmen, he is at pains to explain the
Note 45. Étude sur lAnglais Parlé aux États Unis (la Langue Américaine), Actes de la Société Philologique de Paris, March, 1874. [back]
Note 46. Metoula-Sprachführer Englisch von Karl Blattner; Ausgabe für Amerika; Berlin-Schöneberg, 1912. [back]
Note 47. Polyglott Kuntze; Schnellste Erlernung jeder Sprache ohne Lehrer; Amerikanisch; Bonn a. Rh., n. d. [back]
Note 48. Like the English expositors of American slang this German falls into several errors. For example, he gives cock for rooster, boots for shoes, braces for suspenders and postman for letter-carrier, and lists ironmonger, joiner and linen-draper as American terms. He also spells wagon in the English manner, with two gs, and translates schweinefüsse as pork-feet. But he spells such words as color in the American manner and gives the pronunciation of clerk as the American klörk. not as the English klark. [back]
Note 49. By Carlo di Domizio and Charles M. Smith; Munich, n. d. [back]
Note 50. Like the Metoula expositor they make mistakes. Certainly no American bartender ever made a Hock-cup; he made a Rhine-wine-cup. They list several drinks that were certainly not known in America in the old days, e. g., the knickebein and the white-lion. They convert julep into julesa foul blow, indeed! [back]