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Lexicographer Jonathon Green is the editor of Cassell's Dictionary of Slang and the world's foremost authority on this rather rich subject. Here he argues the rationale behind his particular bailiwick:

There are, in round figures, some 100,000 words and phrases in the slang vocabulary. That's half a millennium's coinage, of course, and it's not just British English.

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Dog Eared

Books we love

Fun Learning Grammar

"Fun" and "grammar" in the same sentence? These books make learning grammar a blast. Teachers of the world, rejoice!

Hot Fudge Monday by Randy Larson

DownWRITE Funny by Randy Larson

Comic-Strip Grammar by Dan Greenberg

Awesome Hands-on Activities For Teaching Grammar by Sasan Van Zile

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The fact that I've written anything at all astounds me. I certainly didn't end up being a writer on purpose.

When I was a teenager (in the sixties), I wanted to be a famous artist -- the mysterious, dramatic type hidden away in a loft in NYC. Problem was, I didn't have any talent. So I became a second-grade teacher in a tiny rural town in northeastern New York. After thirty-three years, I retired, thinking I'd spend the rest of my life doing not a whole lot. That goes flat fast. I tried passing the time by refinishing furniture. No fun at all. A friend and I went into "business" making and selling little girls' smocked dresses. She smocked and I sold. It was a hoot for me but not for her. Then my son (a college senior at the time) won a national writing competition sponsored by the Kennedy Center. I thought maybe I could write something.

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Blog Excerpts

Word Detective

Check out a word sleuth in action: See how this lexicographer, who writes the Language Hat blog, answers the question, "why is that there is an 'oldfangled' and a 'newfangled' but no 'fangled'?" Click here for the response.
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Chris Lehman is the principal of a public high school in Philadelphia called the Science Leadership Academy. It's a brand new progressive school that just opened its doors to 110 ninth graders in September. What's so progressive about it? For starters, each kid gets a laptop -- but no textbooks to take home. And even more important, says Chris, who writes the respected blog Practical Theory, is the guiding philosophy of the school: Something he calls "21st century learning." Chris explains:  Continue reading...
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Dog Eared

Books we love

Principal's Books

Chris Lehman, the principal of Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy and author of the Practical Theory blog, recommends these books that he says "inspire me every day:"

Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century by David Warlick

Teaching to Transgress by Bell Hooks

Educating Moral People: A Caring Alternative to Character Education by Nell Noddings

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Nancy Friedman, the naming and branding expert who contributed our "Candlepower" feature this week says, "here's a clutch of useful and entertaining sites about readin' and writin'. 'Rithmetic I leave to others more qualified." She writes:

Writerisms and Other Sins: A Writer's Shortcut to Stronger Writing was first posted in 1995, but it's as relevant as ever. Author C.J. Cherryh defines "writerisms" as "overused and misused language"--and the examples are fresh and memorable. Includes the definitive guide to never mistaking "who" for "whom."

Give What Should I Read Next the title of a book you enjoyed and it will suggest others you should try. Differs from Amazon Recommendations because it's based on books you've actually read and liked, not books you may have bought for others--or bought and returned.

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