Why yes, I do speak a language.

To start off one of my writing courses this semester, I had my students read an article called, “Getting it ‘write’: Essay styles vary by country, creating difficulties for international students.” It explains some of the ways that writing philosophies differ in various cultures, and how awareness of this fact helps students understand their task a little bit better as they try to adapt to an American education.

We’re all in the same boat.

Many of my students have had higher education experience in their native countries and thought they knew how to write. Then they arrived here and found themselves placed in a developmental writing course. Many of them believe it’s solely due to their grammar or vocabulary but don’t realize that there are other factors involved. Having them start the semester with this article gives them a chance not only to adjust their expectations, but also to make them feel better about why they need remedial work. Continue reading


‘Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day, mateys! Arrrr!

This pirate-honoring “holiday” was created by John Baur and Mark Summers in 1995, and it has since become a major celebration of the Pastafarians (followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.) It really gained ground after John Baur and family was featured on an episode of Wife Swap in 2006.

Now, there’s a sentence that I never imagined I would ever write.

Talk Like a Pirate Day is just one of the silliest things I’ve heard of in my life, which is at least one reason why I simply adore it. As usual, however, it snuck up on me and I didn’t have time to give it enough attention for a proper post. But it’s coming, mateys. It’s coming.

Edited to add: Arrr! Republic of Pirates Blog beat me to it!

Until then, go shiver some timbers, or y’know…walk a plank or something. Gosh, that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?

At least be sure to give someone a good ole stink-eyed “Arrrrrr!” today.

And chances are, it will be even more fun if you don’t explain why!

What’s your favorite bit of silliness?

Take Two: Words We Cannot Say…Except When We Can

I am a sucker for an online linguistic survey. Recently, I saw a tweet about this survey,  being done by a PhD student in Helsinki, about attitudes towards offensive language in English. I jumped right on it.

It then got me thinking about this post that I wrote over two years ago (originally published on 10 June 2012). Here it is, with some minor edits, but still with no pictures.

Read, comment, then go take the survey! Continue reading