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"Words of the World" is a series of short videos presented by experts from the University of Nottingham's School of Modern Languages and Cultures. From vodka
, from aficionado
, the Nottingham scholars explore the global history of words in fascinating detail. Start watching here
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The English language is full of paradoxes, like the fact that "literally" pretty much always means "figuratively. Other words mean their opposites as well — "scan" means both 'read closely' and 'skim.' "Restive" originally meant 'standing still' but now it often means 'antsy.' "Dust" can mean 'to sprinkle with dust' and 'to remove the dust from something.' "Oversight" means both looking closely at something and ignoring it. "Sanction" sometimes means 'forbid,' sometimes, 'allow.' And then there's "ravel," which means 'ravel, or tangle' as well as its opposite, 'unravel,' as when Macbeth evokes "Sleepe that knits up the rauel'd Sleeue of Care."
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After years of fine-tuning individual state standards for education, the tide has turned. No longer will many administrators and teachers turn to their state standards to determine what to teach and when; they will instead look to the Common Core Standards as the new "gold standard" of standards. As of today, the Common Core State Standards Initiative — brainchild of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) — has successfully wooed at least thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia.
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We are pleased to present another excerpt from the new anthology entitled, One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe
, published by Sarabande Books. The editor, Molly McQuade, asked 66 writers the question, "What one word means the most to you, and why?" Among the essays McQuade has collected is "Verb," by Lia Purpura.