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

4 books about grant writing

I’m teaching a course in Grant Writing in March 2017 and thought that I would like to brush up on recent books about this discipline. I encourage you to do what I did: Check out books on grant writing from the library and decide which one (or ones) to buy for detailed study. Which would… 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

A great tightening exercise from our government?

If you’ve attended one of my training classes, you know that I teach the concept of  “tightening” as a way to cut out all the excess words in our writing. Concise is good. That’s why I was so interested in reading in The Economist (January 1, 2011, p.29) that the Republican Contract from America called… Continue Reading

The British competitor to Edward Tufte?

My friend Rosie Senjem sent me a link to a TED video by David McCandless on The Beauty of Data Visualization. His PowerPoint show is amazing, and completely discounts Edward Tufte’s arguments against PP. Tufte argues for creative visualization of data, but trashes PP as a medium. McCandless proves him wrong, I think. Continue Reading