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

Page 28

5. The General Character of American English
  The characters chiefly noted in American speech by all who have discussed it, are, first, its general uniformity throughout the country, so that dialects, properly speaking, are confined to recent immigrants, to the native whites of a few isolated areas and to the negroes of the South; and, secondly, its impatient disregard of rule and precedent, and hence its large capacity (distinctly greater than that of the English of England) for taking in new words and phrases and for manufacturing new locutions out of its own materials. The first of these characters has struck every observer, native and foreign. In place of the local dialects of other countries we have a general Volkssprache for the whole nation, and if it is conditioned at all it is only by minor differences in pronunciation and by the linguistic struggles of various groups of newcomers. “The speech of the United States,” says Gilbert M. Tucker, “is quite unlike that of Great Britain in the important particular that here we have no dialects.” 52 “We all,” said Mr. Taft during his presidency, “speak the same language and have the same ideas.” “Manners, morals and political views,” said the New York World, commenting upon this dictum, “have all undergone a standardization which is one of the remarkable aspects of American evolution. Perhaps it is in the uniformity of language that this development has been most note-worthy. Outside of the Tennessee mountains and the back country of New England there is no true dialect.” 53 “While we have or have had single counties as large as Great Britain,” says another American observer, “and in some of our states England could be lost, there is practically no difference between the American spoken in our 4,039,000 square miles of territory, except as spoken by foreigners. We, assembled here, would be perfectly understood by delegates from Texas, Maine, Minnesota, Louisiana, or Alaska, from whatever walk of life they might come. We can go to any of the 75,000 postoffices