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The headlines were full of "disruption" last week, as Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast. "Hurricane Sandy Disrupts Millions of Lives" read the headline on a New York Times slide show. Sandy "continues to disrupt New York entertainment industry," CBS News warned a day after the storm passed through. Subway, train, and air travel was disrupted, as was phone and cable service, and there was even concern that power outages would disrupt voting in today's election.
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In last night's presidential debate, Barack Obama said that Mitt Romney's economic plan amounted to a "sketchy deal." Soon thereafter, #SketchyDeal was a trending topic on Twitter (in part thanks to the Obama campaign's own Twitter account), used to question or criticize various aspects of Romney's proposals. With sketchy
in the spotlight, it's worth sketching out how the word came to prominence, and how it can mean different things to different people.
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In Vocabulary at the Core
, Amy Benjamin and John T. Crow assert that word study should play a more significant role in English class and across the curriculum — as emphasized by the Common Core State Standards. In this excerpt, Benjamin and Crow explain the difference between receptive control and productive control of words and why our students' receptive vocabulary remains considerably larger than their productive vocabulary.
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As Americans celebrate Columbus Day, it's worth reflecting on the complicated cultural and linguistic legacy that Christopher Columbus left behind. There's a single word that aptly illustrates this legacy and all of its contradictions: Indians
, the mistaken name that Columbus gave to the native peoples of the Americas.