America has kept the promise. Since before we were a nation, we've been adding our coinages to the treasury of the English language. But that hasn't always made speakers of the "King English" happy. The first reports of an American dialect, made by British visitors to "the colonies," denounced it as "barbarous�"[and] filled with improprieties and vulgarisms." Thomas Jefferson was belittled for creating the word, "belittle"; and lengthy diatribes attacked the American adjective, "lengthy"
But American independence, assertiveness and pure cussedness conquered the linguistic purists. Despite British resistance to the American evolution, the New World demanded new words, and we supplied them.
"Talk talk" developed from our love of tall tales. The bragging, boastful, buoyant frontier spirit, epitomized by Davy Crockett's claim that he could "outspeak any man, "led to an invented language of mile-long words. Thus, expressions like "teetotaciously exflunctified" appear even in serious news paper editorials.
Table of Contents
|The First Roundup: Acknowledgments||xi|
|Introduction: Enough, Already?||xv|
|Personally Speaking: The American Spirit||1|
|Intellectually Speaking: The American Mind||79|
|Emotionally Speaking: The American Heart||155|
|Conclusion: The Final Word||251|
|The Last Roundup: Sources||263|