Blog Excerpts

False Words

Frescata? Bananarcalepsy? Dreadhawk? Any of these ring a bell? They're all entries in a fascinating online project to document "false words" called Fauxlogism. Check out their entire list.
For the past three decades Professor Connie Eble has been pursuing a unique project: Tracking the slang of her students. The in-house linguist of the University of North Carolina's English Department, she polls her students every semester about their non-standard language. This long-term research has given Professor Eble a singular window into the function of language in society, which she discusses in her book Slang and Sociability. Professor Eble recently gathered the latest crop of slang from her students, so we called her to find out what she found, and what it means. Continue reading...
When Bob Greenman taught high school journalism and English in Brooklyn, NY, public schools he found himself turning to the New York Times for more than just the news. "I had the kids work on vocabulary from the paper," the 30-year veteran educator explains. "It's peerless for vocabulary acquisition, even better than reading classic fiction." That experience inspired Bob to put together a book called Words That Make a Difference, a compendium of vocabulary words with contextual examples from the New York Times, and another one he co-authored with his wife Carol, this time with examples from the Atlantic Monthly magazine. We spoke to Bob about his practical approach to teaching vocabulary. Continue reading...
Do you feel called upon to justify the activity of reading the dictionary? Seek no further! This month we visit a poet who whiled away many hours with her eyes glued to the fine print, and ended up having quite a lot to show for it. Continue reading...
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