Author Archive

  • Ready, steady, go!

    Posted by on June 11, 2012

    The “I wish X language had word W, which is so useful in Y” discussion is usually an invitation to submit fun and weird words that are highly specific and useful in language Y.  For example, I did one post on great words that English lacks, and Danish provides two:  flueknipper (literally, someone who, er, […]

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  • Think before you write

    Posted by on January 31, 2012

    “Short words are best, and old words, when short, are best of all.” Thus, quoting Winston Churchill, began an editorial in The Economist that consisted entirely of one-syllable words. It went on: “AND, not for the first time, he was right: short words are best. Plain they may be, but that is their strength. They […]

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  • Class, accent, variety: north vs south

    Posted by on December 06, 2011

    Discussion of class and English continues for one final week. In this guest post, journalist, author and blogger Robert Lane Greene looks at class and language, specifically pronunciation, in American English. ___________ In my last post I wrote about the messy variety that characterizes American English, saying it was far too often treated as a […]

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  • American English? What’s that?

    Posted by on July 29, 2010

    Our American English month is shortly coming to its end. Perhaps this is a good point to stop and ask this question again: What is American English? This time the answer comes from Robert Lane Greene, journalist, blogger and author of a soon to be published (and now thoroughly copy-edited) book, You Are What You […]

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