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In 1835, Charles Follen wrote, "The German language is sufficiently copious and productive, to furnish native words for any idea that can be expressed at all." In Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition, Ben Schott proves Follen correct, while establishing himself as the Rich Hall of German with this wonderful collection of Sniglet-like terms.  Continue reading...
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Words can be thought of as historical artifacts; they carry with them a stamp of time and place, and sometimes it's important to take the long view and think about words outside their immediate context and use a broader perspective.  Continue reading...
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In What is English? And Why Should We Care?, Tim William Machan looks at the nooks, crannies, accents, dialects, words, and other details that have made English English over the centuries. After reading this book, you'll agree that "English serves as the password to a kind of cross-cultural, transhistorical club that one might or might not want to join."  Continue reading...
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The Rolling Stones Discover America, my eyewitness account of a month-long Stones tour in 1969, became an Amazon Kindle Single e-book early this year, and now Hachette is publishing it as an audio book. When Hachette Audio's editor Anthony Goff and I shook hands on the deal in June, I asked if I could narrate the book.  Continue reading...
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Some punctuation marks hog the spotlight, like the versatile, omnipresent comma and the flirty, oft-abused semicolon. Question marks and exclamation marks — the good cop, bad cop of punctuation — are forever in your face. The period subtly but emphatically makes its presence known, while parentheses are off gossiping and tittering like teenage girls. These are the usual suspects most people think of when it comes to punctuation.  Continue reading...
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I'm jealous.

That's my 2-word review of How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark, who I assume will appreciate the brevity.  Continue reading...
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Day after day of 90+ degree heat seems to melt our brains into neuronic mushes far too soggy for heavy reading, and we become capable only of lazing through lighter-than-air fare. A memorable New Yorker cartoon tells the story: a stern cop, looming over a sunbather reading Crime and Punishment, says, "I'm sorry, sir, but Dostoyevsky is not considered summer reading."  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 345 Articles