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

Page 205

with in the plainest words available, and is not socially worthy of the suavity of circumlocution anyhow. 95 In his turn the immigrant seizes upon these plainest words as upon a sort of convenient Lingua Franca—his quick adoption of damn as a universal adjective is traditional—and throws his influence upon the side of the underlying speech habit when he gets on in the vulgate. Many characteristic Americanisms of the sort to stagger lexicographers—for example, near-silk—have come from the Jews, whose progress in business is a good deal faster than their progress in English.