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

Page 328

Denis to Denny, Pebaudière to Peabody, Bon Pas to Bumpus and de l’Hôtel to Doolittle. “Frenchmen and French Canadians who came to New England,” says Schele de Vere, “had to pay for such hospitality as they there received by the sacrifice of their names. The brave Bon Cœur, Captain Marryatt tells us in his Diary, became Mr. Bunker, and gave his name to Bunker’s Hill.” 14 But it was the German immigration that provoked the first really wholesale slaughter. A number of characteristic German sounds—for example, that of ü and the guttural in ch and g—are almost impossible to the Anglo-Saxon pharynx, and so they had to go. Thus, Bloch was changed to Block or Black, Ochs to Oakes, Hoch to Hoke, Fischbach to Fishback, Albrecht to Albert or Albright, and Steinweg to Steinway, and the Grundwort, bach, was almost universally changed to baugh or paugh, as in Brumbaugh and Fish paugh (or Fishpaw). The ü met the same fate: Grün was changed to Green, Sänger to Sanger or Singer, Glück to Gluck, Führ to Fear or Fuhr, Wärner to Warner, Düring to Deering, and Schnäbele to Snabely, Snavely or Snively. In many other cases there were changes in spelling to preserve vowel sounds differently represented in German and English. Thus, Blum was changed to Bloom, 15 Reuss to Royce, Koester to Kester, Kuehle to Keeley, Schroeder to Schrader, Stehli to Staley, Weymann to Wayman, Klein to Kline or Cline, Federlein to Federline, Friedmann to Freedman, Bauman to Bowman, Braun to Brown, and Lang (as the best compromise possible) to Long. The change of Oehm to Ames belongs to the same category; the addition of the final s represents a typical effort to substitute the nearest related Anglo-Saxon name or name so sounding. Other examples of that effort are to be found in Michaels for Michaelis, Bowers for Bauer, Johnson for Johannsen, Ford for Furth, Hines for Heintz, Kemp for Kempf, Foreman for Führmann, Kuhns or Coons for Kuntz, Hoover for Huber, Levering for Liebering, Jones for Jonas, Redwood for Rothholz, Grosscup for Grosskopf, Westfall for Westphal, Kerngood for Kerngut, Collenberg for Kaltenberg, Cronkhite for Krankheit, Betts for Betz, Pennypacker