Andrew Kern Oct 5, 2007
In Genesis 1 God created the heavens and the earth (we aren't told how) and then He said, "Let there be light." When He did so, it seems safe to assume He used some language to say it. That is to say, He used language to bring reality into existence. In Genesis 3, Satan used language to persuade Eve to do evil. In so doing, he severed the link between language and reality. For the first time, nature and use were put in conflict.
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Andrew Kern Oct 5, 2007
The point of conflict between the traditional and the contemporary approach to grammar is the triumph of convention over nature. Current grammar theories seem to argue that grammar is strictly a matter of usage (convention). Since this is so, we need to examine why people use grammatical forms and of course, the only possible explanation is that they want power over others. Grammar is an elitist enterprise in which the establishment keeps outsiders outside.
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Andrew Kern Oct 4, 2007
There are three different kinds of article in English: The indefinite article, so named because the noun it modifies is indefinite (an apple, a fish); the definite article, modifying a definite noun (the apple - you know, that one on the table, the fish - that one over there in the aquarium); and the pretentious definite article.
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Andrew Kern Oct 2, 2007
This got me thinking.
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Andrew Kern Oct 2, 2007
Alan Warhaftig has found 474 run on sentences in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Given that the book fills about 750 pages, we cannot help but be astonished by such editorial carelessness.  I'm guessing this news will find a mixed reaction. The sentimentalists will complain that Mr. Warhaftig is trying to ruin a good thing: that Rowling has children reading and is providing legitimate pleasure so Mr. Warhaftig (who probably got his name from Rowling anyway) should stop being so anal retentive and leave her alone.
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Andrew Kern Oct 1, 2007
"The relationship between a liberal education and freedom is good sound American doctrine. ... I regret that during the last several decades we have had a tendency to overlook this important American fact. And I think we are paying the penalty for our shortsightedness in unexpected ways." Thus Wendell Wilkie, in a 1943 speech at Duke University. What would he say today? I can't help but wonder. To read the entire January 25, 1943 Time article from which this quotation is drawn, click HERE.
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Andrew Kern Sep 29, 2007
The word has changed over time. Here's an article that sweeps the centuries for ideas about essay writing that will provoke responses in teachers of writing. A good read, and one worth discussing.
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Andrew Kern Sep 28, 2007
There's even a poster to prove it!  Unfortunately, they might not be able to watch it in our prisons because CS Lewis is among the banned authors listed by the federal Bureau of Prisons.
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Andrew Kern Sep 28, 2007
No matter how many programs come out that describe fun ways to teach grammar and tell kids and parents how easy it is, the fact is, grammar ain't easy. You can't make it easy. Grammar is analytical and it is abstract. That makes it hard. It also makes it a subject (really an "art" or "skill" more than a subject) that requires practice, which isn't always fun no matter how you try to make it so. Young children need to learn early that learning is a challenge and that it will require effort from them. Why should they be surprised later, when they are less willing to be challenged?
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Andrew Kern Sep 25, 2007
A while ago I posted on an article from Wendell Berry in which he presented a model of thinking that seems to me to be essential to understanding and living with reality. It's an ancient way of thinking, rooted in accepting our limits and loving wisdom; and it's a way of thinking that seems to have been set aside by neglect. We simply don't apply this common sense to our thoughts any more.
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