Opening Sentences From Great Novels, Diagrammed: Lolita, 1984 & More

≡ Category: English Language, Literature |Leave a Comment

I admit it: I still don’t understand sentence diagramming. Though as a middle schooler I dutifully, if grudgingly, submitted to that classic English classroom exercise, the practice didn’t stick, nor did whatever habit of composition it meant to convey.

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New “Hemingway” App Promises to Make Your Writing “Strong and Clear”

≡ Category: English Language, Literature, Writing |7 Comments

I confess, I prefer Faulkner to Hemingway and see nothing wrong with long, complex sentences when they are well-constructed. But in most non-Faulkner writing, they are not. Stream of consciousness is a deliberate effect of carefully edited prose, not the unrevised slop of a first draft.

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David Foster Wallace Creates Lists of His Favorite Words: “Maugre,” “Tarantism,” “Ruck,” “Primapara” & More

≡ Category: English Language, Literature, Writing |6 Comments

Everyone I know has a list of least-favorite words. For various reasons, “moist” always seems to make the top three. But perhaps it takes a writer—someone who savors the sounds, textures, and histories of peculiar words—to compile a list of their most-favorites.

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The International Children’s Digital Library Offers Free eBooks for Kids in Over 40 Languages

≡ Category: Books, Education, English Language, K-12, Language Lessons |2 Comments

For all of the free literature and essays available online, a surprisingly small amount is geared toward children. Even less is aimed at children who speak foreign languages.
The International Children’s Digital Library offers children ages 3-13 free access to the best available children’s literature in more than 40 languages.

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Read 100 Entries From America’s Most Unique Dictionary, Now Available Online For The First Time

≡ Category: English Language, History |3 Comments

Earlier this year, we wrote about the regional differences in how Americans refer to soft drinks.

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“Soda/Pop/Coke,” A Creative Visual Remix of Harvard’s Famous 2003 Survey of American Dialects

≡ Category: Education, English Language, Film, Harvard |Leave a Comment

Tomorrow, friends and relatives from far-flung corners of the country will gather as they do this time each year—stuff themselves silly, trim Christmas trees, watch football, online shop, etc.

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George Orwell’s Five Greatest Essays (as Selected by Pulitzer-Prize Winning Columnist Michael Hiltzik)

≡ Category: English Language, Literature, Politics |4 Comments

Every time I’ve taught George Orwell’s famous 1946 essay on misleading, smudgy writing, “Politics and the English Language,” to a group of undergraduates, we’ve delighted in pointing out the number of times Orwell violates his own rules—indulges some form of vague, “pretentious” diction, slips into unnecessary passive

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The Curious History of Punctuation: Author Reveals the Beginnings of the #, ¶, ☞, and More

≡ Category: English Language, History |2 Comments

All things we humans use, from our advanced mobile phones to our very arms and legs, reached their current states through a process of evolution. The same, naturally, goes for our punctuation marks.

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What Shakespeare Sounded Like to Shakespeare: Reconstructing the Bard’s Original Pronunciation

≡ Category: English Language, History, Literature, Theatre |15 Comments

What did Shakespeare’s English sound like to Shakespeare? To his audience? And how can we know such a thing as the phonetic character of the language spoken 400 years ago? These questions and more are addressed in the video above, which profiles a very popular experiment at London’s Globe Theatre, the 1994 reconstruction of Shakespeare’s the

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Now I Know My LSD ABCs: A Trippy Animation of the Alphabet

≡ Category: Animation, Creativity, Design, English Language, Music |1 Comment

Many interests have spurred creative alphabet collections: New York City. Geekdom. Food snobbery. Childhood calamity. And now?
Actually, LSD ABC, defies neat categorization.

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