1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 22-28 of 32 Articles

Lately the Northern Californian slang word hella has been in the news, thanks to a well-publicized Facebook petition to make it the official prefix for 10 to the 27th power. Here we present a first-hand account of the cultural significance of hella from Samantha Strimling, a young journalist about to graduate from Piedmont High School in the San Francisco Bay area. We were pleased to make Samantha's acquaintance at a recent Visual Thesaurus presentation to the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.  Continue reading...
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Last Sunday I responded to an intriguing question from a reader of the New York Times Magazine "On Language" column, dealing with a meaning of the word revert that was previously unfamiliar to me. As I discovered, revert can mean "reply" in a number of varieties of world English, particularly the English of the Indian subcontinent. But revert is hardly the only English word that has moved on a special trajectory in Indian English.  Continue reading...
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Michael Lydon, a well-known writer on popular music since the 1960s, has for many years also been writing about writing. Lydon's essays, written with a colloquial clarity, shed fresh light on familiar and not so familiar aspects of the writing art. Here Lydon takes issue with the novelist Elmore Leonard's "rules" against descriptive writing.  Continue reading...
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At the end of the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee, 14-year-old Anamika Veeramani of North Royalton, Ohio stood alone as the champion. Anamika, who tied for fifth in last year's National Bee, showed poise throughout the competition as one contestant after another fell by the wayside. Though her ride was mostly smooth, the Spelling Bee itself saw some controversy.  Continue reading...
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After the first day of competition at the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee, the field of 273 contestants has been winnowed down to 48, who will move on to Friday's semifinal round. They'll all be looking to follow in the path of last year's winner, Kavya Shivashankar. As usual, the preliminary rounds featured some fascinatingly obscure words, from famulus (a close attendant, as to a scholar) to nullipara (a woman who has never given birth to a child).  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Noah Webster and the Bee

In the Wall Street Journal, John Murray uses the National Spelling Bee as a jumping off point for exploring the pivotal role that the lexicographer Noah Webster played in the development of American English, and how his faith informed his work. Check out Murray's column here.
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The 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee kicks off today, with all eyes focused on the 273 young spellers gathered in Washington D.C. Thanks to national television exposure, the event is sure to spark renewed interest in the fascinating complexities of English spelling. The competitors have been studying hard, and the Visual Thesaurus has been proud to equip them with the ultimate training tool. The Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee, a challenging online game, has shaped up to be one of the best resources available for premier spellers, while also providing addictive fun for the rest of us!  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 22-28 of 32 Articles