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

Page 201

Often curious battles go on between such loan-words and their English equivalents, and with varying fortunes. In 1895 Weber and Fields tried to establish music-hall in New York, but it quickly succumbed to vaudeville-theatre, as variety had succumbed to vaudeville before it. In the same way lawn-fete (without the circumflex accent, and sometimes, alas, pronounced feet) has elbowed out the English garden-party. But now and then, when the competing loanword happens to violate American speech habits, a native term ousts it. The French crèche offers an example; it has been entirely displaced by day-nursery.
  The English, in this matter, display their greater conservatism very plainly. Even when a loan-word enters both English and American simultaneously a sense of foreignness lingers about it on the other side of the Atlantic much longer than on this side, and it is used with far more self-consciousness. The word matinée offers a convenient example. To this day the English commonly print it in italics, give it its French accent, and pronounce it with some attempt at the French manner. But in America it is entirely naturalized, and the most ignorant man uses it without any feeling that it is strange. Often a loan-word loses all signs of its original foreignness. For example, there is shimmy, a corruption of both chemise and chemin (de fer), the name of a card game: it has lost both its original forms and, in one sense, its original meaning. 85 The same lack of any sense of linguistic integrity is to be noticed in many other directions—for example, in the freedom with which the Latin per is used with native nouns. One constantly sees per day, per dozen, per hundred, per mile, etc., in American newspapers, even the most careful, but in England the more seemly a is almost always used, or the noun itself is made Latin, as in per diem. Per, in fact, is fast becoming an everyday American word. Such phrases as “as per your letter (or order) of the 15th inst.” are met with incessantly in business correspondence. The same greater hospitality is shown by the readiness with which various un-English prefixes and