This study shows a certain utility.… But its chief excuse is its human interest, for it prods deeply into national idiosyncracies and ways of mind, and that sort of prodding is always entertaining.—Preface to the First Edition
The American Language
An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States
This classic was written to clarify the discrepancies between British and American English and to define the distinguishing characteristics of American English. Mencken’s groundbreaking study was undoubtedly the most scientific linguistic work on the American language to date and continues to serve as a definitive resource in the field.