Recently, science writer Annie Murphy wrote about "E-memory—electronic memory, the kind that's available on a computer" and "O-memory—organic memory, the old-fashioned sort that resides in the brain." Here's how that distinction can help us think about the way we learn words.
On the first Monday in September, the United States observes Labor Day, while Canadians celebrate Labour Day. If you want to know why labour
is the accepted spelling in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries like Canada, while Americans prefer labor
, and neighbor
), check out this classic Word Routes column
by Ben Zimmer.
Earlier this month, the Times Higher Education reported on the practice of "Roget-ing," in which plagiarism is disguised by swapping synonyms found in Roget's Thesaurus for words used in the copied paper. Though untraceable, the resulting language ranges from not quite right to cataclysmically horrible.
Educators love to talk about how important vocabulary is, but they are often at wits' end trying to figure out how to teach it effectively. Despite the overwhelming evidence that vocabulary knowledge matters to students' reading comprehension and overall achievement in school, it is rare that you will find schools or school districts implementing systematic vocabulary instruction.
A few weeks ago I started a regular feature on the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley called LinguaFile, in which I present the hosts with a word and have them try to guess its origins. Last time it was discombobulate
, and for this week's episode I went with another one of my favorite words, lagniappe
, meaning "a bonus gift (as given to a customer from a merchant)."
We're always on the lookout for lists and mentions of rare or unusual words, and the bigger the better. Thus, we read with great interest the Huffington Post piece on "Big, Beautiful Words You Need To Start Using Immediately."
Yahoo Tech named Vocabulary.com one of "8 Great Games That Will Make Your Kids Smarter" in a round up earlier this week.
Here is the latest in a series of tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. With students returning to school, Mignon asks if they're best described as "anxious" or "eager."