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Cades Cove in winter, watercolor

Appalachian language and other myths about the region

You’ve probably heard this rural legend (as opposed to urban legend): The people of Appalachia speak a dialect of English that harkens back to the English of Chaucer; it’s older even than the English of Shakespeare. No, they don’t. Just as everyone else’s English has done, the English of rural Appalachia has constantly evolved and […]

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FrancesHBurnett

A 19th century writer-rock star, King James’ obsession, costly commas, and the Clinton impeachment revisited: newsletter, Sept. 7, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (x) on August 30, 2018 Too much good stuff to read, too little time. I am in the middle of an excellent novel by a well-known author at the moment, and I will tell you about it in a week or two. I’ve also started […]

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Costly commas

God save the Queen! God, save the Queen! The presence or absence of punctuation — particularly the ubiquitous comma — can change the meaning of a sentence. And it can have massive consequences. This BBC website article,  Pocket: The commas that cost companies millions,  tells about how the absence of a comma in a contract cost […]

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10 letters lost from the alphabet: the video

Austin McConnell has put together this fun video about the symbols that were once part of the English alphabet but that we no longer use.

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Going online: What I tell high school teachers and students

A news website gives scholastic journalists the opportunity to do something they’ve never done — practice “daily journalism.”

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Texting and grammar:

r u goin 2 c her 2-nit Strict grammarians (I don’t count myself in those ranks) believe that text messaging will kill off good grammar, spelling and punctuation. (Unless it literally kills us first, since many text messages are sent and received from behind the wheel of vehicles at 45-plus mph.) But before we don […]

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