Just say “No” to jargon?

Just say “No” to jargon?

Are you drowning in jargon? My son’s voicemail said: “Hi, Mom. I’m in Minnie, on my way to Indy. I passed my FO. Call me after 7 when I’ll be out of the box.” Hello??? One short message, four examples of airline jargon. This message certainly was concise, but it wasn’t clear to me and… Continue Reading

A linguists’ joke

 “What do you call someone who speaks three languages?” (Multilingual)  “What do you call someone who speaks two languages?” (Bilingual)  “What do you call someone who speaks one language?” (American) Continue Reading

E.D. Hirsch is half right about vocabulary building

E.D. Hirsch Jr. recently wrote in the New York Times that the decline in American students’ vocabulary scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress signals a decline in equality for students―without wide general knowledge and vocabulary, he claims, students cannot go on to learn the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects that they… Continue Reading

Why be bilingual?

After so many years of teaching writing, I am accustomed to feeling that I am the language expert in the classroom. I’m not saying that my perception is accurate; it’s just my perception. Imagine my discomfort when I volunteered in my granddaughter’s kindergarten Russian immersion class. Here were 5-year-old American children chattering in Russian and… Continue Reading

Persuading through stories

I have never been overly impressed with my own persuasive capabilities, but recently I experienced a political success that I attribute to storytelling. Some background: On five separate occasions, I had recently had five near encounters with bicycles while I was walking on the sidewalk that loops through our condo development (there are several blind… Continue Reading

Three great words to use more often

Years ago, I taught Business Writing at a male maximum-security prison in Minnesota. Our goal was to provide training that people could use when they were released from prison and were job searching. At the end of the quarter, one student asked, as he was leaving the room for the last time: “What is good… Continue Reading