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

Page 38

6. The Materials of the Inquiry
  One familiar with the habits of pedagogues need not be told that, in their grudging discussions of American, they have spent most of their energies upon vain attempts to classify its materials. White and Lounsbury, as I have shown, carried the business to the limits of the preposterous; when they had finished identifying and cataloguing Americanisms there were no more Americanisms left to study. But among investigators of less learning there is a more spacious view of the problem, and the labored categories of White and Lounsbury are much extended. Pickering, the first to attempt a list of Americanisms, rehearsed their origin under the following headings:

  1. We have formed some new words.”
  2. To some old ones, that are still in use in England, we have affixed new significations.”
  3. Others, which have been long obsolete in England, are still retained in common use among us.”
  Bartlett, in the second edition of his dictionary, dated 1859, increased these classes to nine:

  1. Archaisms, i.e., old English words, obsolete, or nearly so, in England, but retained in use in this country.
  2. English words used in a different sense from what they are in England. “These include many names of natural objects differently applied.”
  3. Words which have retained their original meaning in the United States, though not in England.
  4. English provincialisms adopted into general use in America.
  5. Newly coined words, which owe their origin to the productions or to the circumstances of the country.
  6. Words borrowed from European languages, especially the French, Spanish, Dutch and German.
  7. Indian words.
  8. Negroisms.
  9. Peculiarities of pronunciation.
  Some time before this, but after the publication of Bartlett’s first edition in 1848, William C. Fowler, professor of rhetoric at Amherst,