11 JAN 2014 by ideonexus

 The Problem with English Teaching

Midway through her 9 a.m. Intro to American Literature course Thursday, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor Elizabeth Mabrey suddenly realized that her students would accept, without question, literally any words that came out of her mouth as absolute, incontrovertible fact, sources confirmed. “I could say that On the Road was an overt metaphor for the Vietnam War and they would jot it down in their notebooks without any hesitation whatsoever,” said Mabrey, adding that, come midter...
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This is satire, but the subjective nature of the subject makes this a real problem for students.

11 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 How Many Vowels in the English Language?

No, the answer is not: “Five: a, e, i, o u.” Granted, in traditional English spelling those are the vowel letters, yes, but I’m talking about our spoken language: How many significant vowel sounds are there? Well, if you consult any popular American English dictionary, and study the Pronunciation Key, there will be a long list of vowels. In the Pronunciation Key to the American Heritage Dictionary, 19 different vowel symbols are listed (not counting the ones only used in foreign words)!...
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Not five, but considered phonetically there are 19.

23 AUG 2012 by ideonexus

 A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter c would be dropped to be replased either by k or s, and likewise x would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which c would be retained would be the ch formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform w spelling, so that which and one would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish y replasing it with i and Iear 4 might fiks the g/j anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue...
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Mark Twain's clever observation of how to simplify English spelling.

22 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Etymology of Chemistry Terms

Each of us has read somewhere that in New Guinea pidgin the word for 'piano' is (I use English spelling) 'this fellow you hit teeth belonging to him he squeal all same pig'. I am inclined to doubt whether this expression is authentic; it looks just like the kind of thing a visitor to the Islands would facetiously invent. But I accept 'cut grass belong head belong me' for 'haircut' as genuine... Such phrases seem very funny to us, and make us feel very superior to the ignorant foreigners who u...
Folksonomies: chemistry etymology english
Folksonomies: chemistry etymology english
  1  notes

Compared to the etymology of "backwards" rural terms.