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

Page 378

way there is no declension of the pronoun for case. My is thus I, me, mine and our own my. “No belong my” is “it is not mine,” a crude construction, of course, but still clearly intelligible. Chinamen learn Pidgin English in a few months, and savages in the South Seas master Beach-la-Mar almost as quickly. And a white man, once he has accustomed himself to either, finds it strangely fluent and expressive. He cannot argue politics in it, nor dispute upon transubstantiation, but for all the business of every day it is perfectly satisfactory.
  This capacity of English for clear and succinct utterance is frequently remarked by Continental philologists, many of whom seem inclined to agree with Grimm that it will eventually supersede all of the varying dialects now spoken in Europe, at least for commercial purposes. Jespersen, in the first chapter of his “Growth and Structure of the English Language,” 10 discusses the matter very penetratingly and at great length. “There is one impression,” he says, “that continually comes to my mind whenever I think of the English language and compare it with others: it seems to me positively and expressively masculine; it is the language of a grownup man and has very little childish or feminine about it. A great many things go together to produce and to confirm that impression, things phonetical, grammatical, and lexical, words and turns that are found, and words and turns that are not found, in the language.” He then goes on to explain the origin and nature of the “masculine” air: it is grounded chiefly upon clarity, directness and force. He says:
The English consonants are well defined; voiced and voiceless consonants stand over against each other in neat symmetry, and they are, as a rule, clearly and precisely pronounced. You have none of those indistinct or half-slurred consonants that abound in Danish, for instance (such as those in hade, hage, livlig), where you hardly know whether it is a consonant or a vowel-glide that meets the ear. The only thing that might be compared to this in English is the r when not followed by a vowel, but then this has really given up definitely all pretensions to the rank of a consonant, and is (in the pronunciation of the South of England) 11 either frankly a vowel (as in here) or else nothing at all (in hart, etc.). Each English consonant belongs distinctly to its own type, a t