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Articles from SEPTEMBER 2009
Behind the Dictionary
Lexicographers Talk About Language
September 16, 2009
Bryan A. Garner wears many hats: he is a lawyer, a prolific lecturer, and an equally prolific author. Since 1995, he has been editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary. He is also the author of Garner's Modern American Usage, a widely respected guide to contemporary usage that has just been published in its third edition. In this, the first of our two-part interview with Garner, we learn what it means to be an "informed prescriptivist," and why you should be wary of anyone who uses prior to instead of before. Continue reading...
Tomorrow is September 17th — otherwise known as Constitution Day, a day when all U.S. educational institutions that receive federal funding are required by law to pay a little attention to the document that was signed on September 17, 1787.Teachers, check out the following links to discover some fun ways to spend Constitution Day. Continue reading...
Wendalyn Nichols, editor of the Copyediting newsletter, offers useful tips to copy editors and anyone else who prizes clear and orderly writing. Here she examines what happens to the spelling of words when we follow our ears.My daughter, who is six, is feeling the power of the written word. She's taken to taping notes all over the house — labels for shelves and rooms and drawers, and messages to us that begin "Dere parints." Continue reading...
How to Describe Gibberish
September 15, 2009
Eyewash! Piffle! Twaddle! Mumbo jumbo! Want to know twenty ways to describe nonsensical speech? Maeve Maddox of Daily Writing Tips has the answers here.
Exploring the pathways of our lexicon
September 14, 2009By Ben Zimmer
The National Football League kicked into gear this past weekend, accompanied by the usual hoopla from the sports media. In honor of the start of the football season, the television show "NFL Films Presents" put together a segment on the word hut, an interjection shouted by quarterbacks when initiating a play. They asked a number of NFL players and coaches their theories about the origin of hut, and then called upon a linguist to set the record straight. That linguist happened to be me, so I found myself unaccountably sharing air time with the likes of Don Shula and Tom Coughlin. Continue reading...
In this selection from Inside Words: Tools for Teaching Academic Vocabulary, Janet Allen presents a great instructional activity to make words come alive for students, encouraging them to see how vocabulary relates to real-world context. Continue reading...
What happens when a misspelling gets enshrined in official documentation? Mike Pope, a technical writer and editor at Microsoft, looks at some embarrassing typographical errors that continue to linger in the world of computer programming. Continue reading...