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Articles from FEBRUARY 2008
February 7, 2008
At Big Think! This new website gives you access to "hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers." Listen to folks like New Yorker editor David Remnick, former poet laureate of the U.S. Billy Collins and actress and author Anna Deavere Smith -- and post your own questions and comments.
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...
Blog Du Jour
Keep It Short
February 6, 2008
We asked Bob Greenman, the author and educator we interview in this week's "Teachers at Work" feature, to recommend books about vocabulary. Here are his picks:
America in So Many Words, by Allan A. Metcalf and David K. Barnhart. "Year by year, the stories behind significant American words like cookie (1703), squatter (1788), hobo (1847), bathtub (1870), muckraker (1906), jukebox (1939), duh ( 1963) and newbie (1993)."Continue reading...
VT Tip o' the Week
Meanings Can Be Expressed by Multiple Words
February 4, 2008
Just as a word can have many meanings, a meaning, or sense, can be expressed using multiple words. For instance, "produce a literary work" can be expressed by not only the word pen, but also write, compose, and indite. The words associated with the same meaning are all synonyms, and therefore belong to the same synset. In the Visual Thesaurus, words that belong to a synset are connected to their shared meaning by solid lines.
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...
A Monthly Column for Word Lovers
February 1, 2008By Orin Hargraves
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...