The American Language by H. L. Mencken

The American Language, first published in 1919, is H. L. Mencken's book about the English language as spoken in the United States. Mencken was inspired by "the argot of the colored waiters" in Washington, as well as one of his favorite authors, Mark Twain, and his experiences on the streets of Baltimore. In 1902, Mencken remarked on the "queer words which go into the making of 'United States.'" The book was preceded by several columns in The Evening Sun. Mencken eventually asked "Why doesn't some painstaking pundit attempt a grammar of the American language... English, that is, as spoken by the great masses of the plain people of this fair land?" It would appear that he answered his own question.

The 261st greatest nonfiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 9th on The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction (The Modern Library)
  2. - The 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time (The Guardian)

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Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States Hardcover 4427799 $2.69
The American Language Hardcover 10478840 $8.97
The American Language A Preliminary Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States Paperback 2582557 $11.87 $10.08 2016
American Language Supplement 1 Kindle Edition 3051696 $29.99 2012
The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States Audible Audiobook 31461 $22.49 2021
American Language Supplement 1 & 2 2 Volumes Hardcover 2024233 $18.92 1961
The American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States Kindle Edition 805749 $5.99 2011
Amer Language Abridged Hardcover 3342788 $29.85 $3.90 1963
American Language Supplement 2 (American Language No. 1) Kindle Edition 1009826 $39.99 2012
The American Language a Preliminary Inquiry Into the Development Ment English (Classic Reprint) Paperback 4957423 $9.59 2012
American Language Hardcover 1286845 $22.99 $22.00 2011
The American Language Fourth Edition Plus Two Supplements [3 Volumes] Hardcover 699863 $22.95
The American Language, Supplement 2 Hardcover 1319246 $9.90 $4.99
The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States Hardcover 4039096 $4.99
The American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States (Dodo Press) Paperback 10017213 $27.00 $21.84 2008
American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States, 4th Edition Hardcover 367376 $37.94 $8.73
American Language Kindle Edition 1309128 $37.99 2012
The American language; a preliminary inquiry into the development of English in the United States Paperback 7165942 $25.19 2012
The American language; a preliminary inquiry into the development of English in the United States Paperback 10536886 $19.48 2010
The American Language (Illustrated) Kindle Edition 89706 $0.99 2013
The American language; a preliminary inquiry into the development of English in the United States Paperback 1255524 $11.78 2020
The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States. Hardcover 1537216 $30.01
The American Language Supplement 1 :The American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States Hardcover 2875382 $47.00 $3.33 1945
The American Language; a Preliminary Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States Hardcover 6068391 $17.83 $41.45 2015
H.L. Mencken Collection 7 Books The american credo, The american language, The philosophy of friedrich Nietzsche, A book of burlesques, A book of ... Damn! A book of calumny, In defense of women. Paperback 940951 $19.95 2017
The Best Works of H. L. Mencken: The american credo, The american language, The philosophy of friedrich Nietzsche, A book of burlesques, A book of ... Damn! A book of calumny, In defense of women. Paperback 1479238 $17.93 2019
The American Language: an Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States Hardcover 3009577 $1.95 1946
THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE: A Preliminary Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States [Illustrated edition] Kindle Edition 1409506 2016
The American Language; an Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States Hardcover 6236594 $5.00
The American Language : An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States : Fourth Edition, Corrected, Enlarged and Rewritten Hardcover 11158489 $15.48
American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United Sta Hardcover 3248556 $1.45
Seven books: The american credo, The american language, The philosophy of friedrich Nietzsche, A book of burlesques, A book of prefaces, Damn! A book of calumny, In defense of women. Paperback 964212 $22.95 2016
The American Language: A Preliminary Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States Hardcover 10620530 $39.99 $35.99 2010
The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States Paperback 3704166 $47.24 $3.89 1977
The American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States Hardcover 6813617 $4.15 1919
H. L. Mencken - Premium Collection: The American Language, The American Credo, The Philosophy Of Friedrich Nietzsche Kindle Edition 464539 $0.99 2022
American Language Supplement 2 (American Language No. 1) Hardcover 3957378 $41.22 $3.09 1948
The American Language Paperback 1264429 $14.00 $4.20 2011
The American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States Paperback 4949452 $22.33 $28.23 2010
The American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States, Paperback 7067119 $28.49 2009
The American Language Kindle Edition 309418 $0.99 2017
The American Language, Second Edition Paperback 473958 $16.95 $16.95 2013
The American Language: A Preliminary Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States Paperback 2034297 $15.78 $11.78 2009