1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 54 Articles

In his fascinating book (and 1994 best-seller) The Language Instinct, Stephen Pinker argues convincingly that we humans are born with an instinct to communicate with our voices. How humans in China form and arrange their communicative vocal sounds differs markedly from how humans in Finland do, but, Pinker asserts, beneath the many world's languages lies one universal language, an inborn ability to spin webs of words much as spiders spin webs of silk and beavers build dams of tree trunks and branches.  Continue reading...
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Michael Lydon has been swayed by the power of allusion. "I began by laughing at P. G. Wodehouse's addled literary quotations, and then I discovered how powerful and surprisingly subtle a writing resource allusion can be," he writes. "Though often overlooked, allusion lives omnipresent in the writing that surrounds us."  Continue reading...
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Shortly after 10 a.m. EDT on June 28, FOXNews and CNN erroneously reported that the US Supreme Court had invalidated the Affordable Care Act. Simultaneously, Scotusblog, which was live-blogging the last Supreme Court session of the 2011 term, correctly announced that the Court had upheld most of the ACA.  Continue reading...
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Michael Lydon makes an eloquent case for the central role of assonance in the craft of fine writing: "More than a device we can apply by rule or rote, assonance comes to us as a gift from language itself, from our deep animal urge to communicate with our voices."  Continue reading...
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Machines can grade essays as accurately as human readers. According to the New York Times, a competition sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation produced software able to match human essay readers grade for grade, and a study of commercially-available automatic grading programs showed that computers assessed essays as accurately as human readers, but a whole lot faster, and cheaper, to boot. But that's just the start: computers could lead to a reading-free future.  Continue reading...
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What keeps writing alive? The truth of life. Getting the truth into words is our only hope for immortality. Writing that speaks falsely about life dwindles down to death in a matter of decades.  Continue reading...
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To be or not to be, that is the question.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Happy families are all alike, unhappy families are unhappy each in their own way.

What do these famous sentences have in common? They are all general statements.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 54 Articles