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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 17

No doubt it is easier for an Englishman to understand American than it would be for a Frenchman to do the same, just as it is easier for a German to understand Dutch than it would be for a Spaniard. But it does not make the American language identical with the English. 29
  Chesterton, however, refrained from denouncing this lack of identity; on the contrary, he allowed certain merits to American. “I do not want anybody to suppose,” he said, “that the American language is in any way inferior to ours. In some ways it has improved upon it in vigor and raciness. In other ways it adheres more closely to the English of the best period.” Testimony to the same end was furnished before this by William Archer. “New words,” he said, “are begotten by new conditions of life; and as American life is far more fertile of new conditions than ours, the tendency toward neologism cannot but be stronger in America than in England. America has enormously enriched the language, not only with new words, but (since the American mind is, on the whole, quicker and wittier than the English) with apt and luminous colloquial metaphors.” 30 To which the Manchester Guardian, reviewing Henry G. Aikman’s “Zell,” added: “The writing is, frankly, not English but American, and it cannot be judged by our standards. Some of the sentences are simply appalling, from our point of view—but they serve their purpose. This prompts the interesting speculation whether it is not time that we gave up the pretense of a ‘common language’ and accepted the American on its own merits.”   The list of such quotations might be indefinitely prolonged. There is scarcely an English book upon the United States or an English review of an American book which does not offer some discussion, more or less profound, of American peculiarities of speech, both as they are revealed in spoken discourse (particularly pronunciation and intonation) and as they show themselves in literature and in the newspapers, and to this discussion protest is often added, as it very often is by the reviews and newspapers. “The Americans,” says a typical critic, “have so far progressed with their self-appointed task of creating an American language that much of their conversation is now incomprehensible to English people.” “This amazing lack of a