Tag: English

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Hi, kids! Welcome back to class. You can take off the masks now. You won’t need them here. Our first lesson of the new school year is entitled, “words matter.” And today, people in our media and government gave us three words yesterday. We will look at each word, what they mean, and whether it […]

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.@MarianoRivera shares his story of learning English as a young professional athlete: "I was the happiest man in baseball." 🇺🇸⚾ pic.twitter.com/XKHsa2fye1 — The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 16, 2019 The great Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday for his accomplishments on the baseball field (and having a New Yorker in the […]

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I love words. You might say that I am “zealous” about words. All sorts of words, it matters not how long or short, or from whence they come. Nor how exalted or rude their origins. I’m as fond of the monosyllabic, four-letter words for body parts, bodily functions, and natural activities, that came into English […]

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Want to Write Well? Get Anglo-Saxon with It.

 

William Zinsser writes about the Latin, Norman, and Anglo-Saxon version of some words. When you need some information you can simply ask. If you want to be fancy you can pose a question. But only the truly sophisticated will interrogate.

Boris below observes the genius behind Churchill’s style is in moving between these different variations at the right moment. When Churchill really wants to grab the audience and make a memorable point he goes to the pre-Norman, Anglo-Saxon vocabulary that they know. Zinsser would approve as he advises us to cut out the clutter and get simple with word usage to produce great writing.

Trump’s Greatest Achievement

 

Programming note. On this week’s upcoming Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast, Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, my former co-author and current friend will tell us about the status of immigration enforcement in America and how things look now compared to one year ago. The podcast will be posted Tuesday evening. Listen in! (Got a question to ask Jessica? Leave a comment below).

The most positive consequence of the Trump Administration so far – and it hasn’t been nearly as positive as it could be – is the widespread reevaluation of illegal immigration, its impact on our economy and culture, and the question of how (and not if) the laws of the nation should be best enforced.

Heretofore the principal argument against enforcing the laws on the books has been that it was an impossible task. The results of ICE and Border Patrol’s conspicuous (though by no means massive) arrest and deportation policies and their influence on the inflow of illegal aliens through the southern border have essentially demolished that argument – and this is before any workplace enforcement has been initiated at all.

A Quick Question for the Ricochet Grammarians

 

Many of my Ohioan peers and coworkers omit the verb “to be” in passive constructions, especially when assigning tasks. They’ll say, “These shirts need folded,” rather than, “These shirts need to be folded,” or, “These shirts need folding.”

Today, I asked my Latin professor about this. She speculated that the form may be a “Germanism,” a bit like the infamous question, “Come with?” (In the 19th century, central Ohio harbored a sizable German population.) According to my German-major roommate, though, the German language, like English, permits only the infinitive (“needs to be folded”) and gerund (“needs folding”) in this situation.

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Have you ever wondered about the nature of language, and whether or not our language is adequate to express concepts we see in our minds or feel in our hearts?  It’s a subject I’ve thought a lot about, especially in my interactions here, and seeing other people interact with each other. Preview Open

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This is an expansion on a comment I made here, in Tabula Rasa’s post.  This is just my own opinion, I do not have actual research to back this up beyond my own (and others’) anecdotal experience.  I would argue that English teachers, both at the collegiate high school levels, are responsible for doing a […]

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[Senator Lindsey] Graham’s spokesperson has clarified to Bloomberg that when Graham said “I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to,” that statement was “not to be taken literally.”  My language pedantry has been vindicated! Preview Open

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My student teaching in a high school twenty years ago wasn’t a complete, miserable failure. I succeeded–I succeeded in working hard and communicating the subject matter. I succeeded in getting the students to do work. I succeeded in a good  relationship with my master teacher.  Where I failed was in winning the students over.  The […]

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