• R/W: Flimflam, Fonts… Flaubert?

    R/W: Flimflam, Fonts… Flaubert?1

    • October 25, 2014

    Welcome back to R/W, our weekend collaborative linkblog about language, literacy, and learning! Steven Pinker has a new book out, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, and Mother Jones likes it a lot. They’re geeking out over it and Pinker’s revelation that according to science, blah-de-blah grammar

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  • R/W: A Difficulty with Dialect

    R/W: A Difficulty with Dialect0

    • October 19, 2014

    A Difficulty with Dialect This summer, I read The New Moon’s Arms by Nalo Hopkinson. I didn’t end up enjoying the story, but I did enjoy reading a book that took me back to the country of my birth. Not simply because it was set in Caribbean islands, but because it was written in a

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  • R/W: Adult Human Female

    R/W: Adult Human Female1

    • October 5, 2014

    Word Nerdery Woman. Noun. An adult human female. Google suggests: “a female worker or employee; a wife, girlfriend, or lover.” Pack mule, brood mare, treasured possession. Ouch, Google. That’s way harsh. As usual, the Online Etymology Dictionary is more useful, and more interesting: “adult female human,” late Old English wimman, wiman (plural wimmen), literally “woman-man,” alteration

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  • R/W: The Original Problem Millennial–Y2K

    R/W: The Original Problem Millennial–Y2K0

    • September 21, 2014

    Word Nerdery This subject was suggested to me by Gibson Twist of Pictures of You.  Every century and millennial end comes loaded with hefty dose of end-times paranoia, bacchanalia, and scoffing. Lately there was the fake Mayan doomsday prophecy and only a scant twelve years before that, our first millennial problem child, Y2K itself.

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  • R/W: Reading makes you a better person!

    R/W: Reading makes you a better person!0

    • August 24, 2014

    Over at Book Riot, they’ve rounded up some literary journals designed for e-readers. Woo! But no Symbolia? Shame! New issue out right now. Go. Gooooo. — Megan

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  • R/W: N Is for No Surviiiiivors!2

    • August 10, 2014

    Fun. That’s a thing. A thing that started in the 1680s as a verb, meaning to cheat or trick. “Are you having fun with me?” The word is of uncertain origin — how like fun — but Online Etymology and Google suggest that it comes from the Middle English fon, which means to be a

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