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

Page 183

with no little humor), I find it in the deed of a fund given to the American Academy of Arts and Letters to enable the gifted philologs of that sanhedrin “to consider its duty towards the conservation of the English language in its beauty and purity.” 41 Both towards and afterwards, finally, are included in the New York Evening Post’s list of “words no longer disapproved when in their proper places,” along with over for more than, and during for in the course of.

3. Processes of Word-Formation
  Some of the tendencies visible in American—e. g., toward the facile manufacture of new compounds, toward the transfer of words from one part of speech to another, and toward the free use of suffixes and prefixes and the easy isolation of roots and pseudoroots—go back to the period of the first growth of a distinct American dialect and are heritages from the English of the time. They are the products of a movement which, reaching its height in the English of Elizabeth, was dammed up at home, so to speak, by the rise of linguistic self-consciousness toward the end of the reign of Anne, but continued almost unobstructed in the colonies.
  For example, there is what philologists call the habit of clipping or back-formation—a sort of instinctive search, etymologically un-sound, for short roots in long words. This habit, in Restoration days, precipitated a quasi-English word, mobile, from the Latin mobile vulgus, and in the days of William and Mary it went a step further by precipitating mob from mobile. Mob is now sound English, but in the eighteenth century it was violently attacked by the new sect of purists, 42 and though it survived their onslaught they undoubtedly greatly impeded the formation and adoption of other words of the same category. There are, however, many more such words in standard English, e. g., patter from paternoster, van from