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Defining 'Society' - A College Freshman's Understanding

November 06, 2008


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6 November 2008

ENG 121.14 Students,

Per the directions you were given in our class meeting today . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 11:56 PM and is filed under Etymology.
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Defining 'Justice' - A College Student's Perspective


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6 November 2008

ENG 121.16 Students,

Per the instructions you were given in today's class meeting . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 08:03 AM and is filed under Etymology.
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Why are ‘Examples’ Important as a Writing Strategy?

September 29, 2008


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“Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach” ~ Albert Einstein

Students and Friends,

Opinions are great but provided examples make a stronger case. Many learned men and women have had much to say on the subject of examples as a method of teaching. But, do they serve a useful purpose anywhere else?

This is the question I put to my writing students when trying to get them to see the fundamentals of a good argument or position paper. With or without research data, the example is the cornerstone of good reasoning . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 01:38 PM and is filed under Composition.
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Composition - Bizarre English Metaphors AND Similes

June 13, 2008

Hi Readers,

Earlier, I did a review on a lesson I did this Spring semester with writing students on similes and metaphors HERE. I thought my students did fairly well.

What I’ve reprinted below (including the intro paragraph) came into my mail today: these are NOT from my students (can also be found HERE--thanks, Femmebot). Note that some of these are really analogies. (NOTE: Before you leave a comment saying that some of these are similes...of course!...please read the title of the post...I can't help it that some places on the Web have shortened their reference to this page as a "metaphors-only" page).

I found some of these similes and metaphors hilarious though and, as some commenters have pointed out, covertly ingenious is some cases. Anyway, I thought some of you might enjoy seeing examples of--what I assume to be--unintentionally silly / mixed metaphors. My colleague suggested that it would be nice if writing students would at least indulge in this much creativity from time to time!

*Every year, English teachers from across the USA can submit their
collections of actual analogies, similies, and metaphors found in high school
essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of
teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 11:29 AM and is filed under Composition.
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A Message To Those Who Create Their Own Words

January 13, 2008


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Ok, follow me here: If someone is another's "girl" it used to mean that the "girl" was someone's girlfriend. But, if someone is another's "boy" (an English expression frequently repeated by other males), it apparently means something altogether different (and not a servant).

I freely admit that I know I'm getting old; I happen to know that many of us, English teachers included, hear certain trendy, new expressions that we . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 06:36 PM and is filed under Industry Issues.
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How a Linguist Sings the Blues

December 06, 2007

Linguist sings the blues.jpg
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Thanks to Chris Swanson of Perspicuity.com and Mark Liberman of Language Log! Please visit their sites.


This entry posted by lhobbs at 05:41 PM and is filed under English @ Random.

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How to Pronounce *Iocaste* and Other Names from Literature

November 19, 2007

Hi Students,

Even after my long-winded explanations of phonology and etymology in our class lectures, some of you still have questions on how to pronounce some of the names from Oedipus Rex (or, Oedipus, The King).

Below, I have reprinted a few worthy explanations from voices younger than mine. Perhaps their explications are simpler to understand . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 10:09 AM and is filed under Etymology.
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Using the Articles 'A' or 'An' Before the Words 'Historic' or 'Historical'

November 03, 2007

The rule seems simple enough doesn't it? Except for words such as "heir," "hour," "honor," or "herb" the article "a," (not "an") precedes a word beginning with the letter "h." That's how I was taught, yet the either archaic or exceptional "an" article still crops up here and there, even in more "respectable" venues such as NPR, one of the supposed final bastions of clear, crisp, and articulately spoken Standard American English. Is public media's incorporation of the, for example, commonly-heard British and Canadian usage of "an" before "historic" mere pretentiousness on their part or some refusal to use Standard American English "rules" on the air? To many, this bold grammatical choice is unoffensive, but how are we to--as teachers--properly explain this inconsistency to EL learners and even native-speakers in grammar and writing bridge courses? Below is an excerpt from James Dvorkin's reply to a recent letter by Charles Everest about NPR's on-air grammatical faux-pas. (Please note Everest's own reply to this post below). Dvorkin replies . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 12:55 PM and is filed under Etymology.
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When Words Signify Something Other Than What You Meant Them To

October 27, 2006


Image Source: http://www.plant-names.com/images/plant-names-graphic.jpg

When deciding on a name, such as a company for example, there is a thing called "the embarrassment factor" as was explained to me once by a professor. For example, my university needs to change its mascot and, since this is a former coal mining area, once considered the "Indiana Miners." However, since this institution already has a reputation as party school that it is trying desperately to reverse, the homonym "minors" is what comes to the ear first (for some) thus upping the embarrassment factor.

These similar gems were sent to me recently by e-mail. I do NOT know the original source of them at this time (if you know, leave a comment please and I'll give credit where credit is due). They are NOT sites with intentionally vulgar-sounding names, but it seems to come off that way when you read their name as a one-word web addy. If you are easily offended by the English language then don't click continue. Otherwise . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 10:43 AM and is filed under Critical Theory.

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Discussing Truth: Is There a Factual Definition?

April 21, 2006

Hello Everyone,

This month there has been a lot of discussion about the concept of "truth." Do you recall the film Dekalog 8 by Krzystof Kieślowski? It had everything to do with telling "the truth," remember? So did the documentary Strongwoman. Several of you, I might add, expressed that you did not believe Justyna's testimony (which seemed to horrify Maria Z. who, in fact, did!)

In our last exercise we looked at Henry Adams's (1838-1948) admonition to learn as the prime directive. In other words, the ability to learn or the process of learning, above all, is the most important thing of all since it gives a person "enough" to get by in life. If we take this statement for granted, are we then to assume that we should be learning "truthful" things? Would Adams sound nearly as clever if he told us to go out and fill our heads with "untruths"? It seems important, then, if we are to learn let it not be wasted on lies and propaganda (useless data) but on knowledge that we somehow know to be true . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 12:48 PM and is filed under Critical Theory.
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Defining Our Own Terms: Teaching is a Metaphor, Learning is Like a Simile

February 27, 2006

English Students,

We’ve discussed previously the concepts of metaphor and simile. Both compare different ideas and draw connections, thus offering a new perspective or interpretive definition. But, what’s the difference between them?

Here's some help:

Simile - A figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by like or as, as in “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get" - Forrest Gump (or) "My love is like a red, red rose" — Robert Burns
Metaphor – The metaphor is similar to the simile, but doesn't say that one thing is like another thing. A metaphor says one thing IS another thing! For example, “Life is a process of becoming . . ." - Anaïs Nin (or) "No man is an island" —John Donne

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 01:27 PM and is filed under Literature.
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New Stereotyping Words for the English Language

December 18, 2005

The Metrosexual.jpg

Metro, Techno or Retro? Just what kind of Hetero are you anyway?

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 09:34 PM and is filed under Critical Theory.
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How Do You Spell Excitement? One Freshman's Thoughts

November 28, 2005

Today's definition article courtesy of English-blog contributor Allison R.:

Defining Excitement

“Think excitement, talk excitement, act out excitement, and you are bound to become an excited person. Life will take on a new zest, deeper interest and greater meaning. You can think, talk, and act yourself into dullness or into monotony or into unhappiness. By the same process you can build up inspiration, excitement and surging depth of joy.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Stated in this quote is a way to define excitement. As something that fills life with meaning and understanding. By comparing excitement to dullness it is shown that to put yourself in the dark makes one unhappy. To live life with excitement brings out a new outlook on life and how it is lived . . .

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This entry posted by lhobbs at 12:16 AM and is filed under Etymology.

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Who is Lee Hobbs?

September 01, 2005

Lee Hobbs, a North American native-speaker (and partial descendant of Native-Americans and wily Welshmen), renowned global citizen (and infamous universal denizen) spends much of his existence "searching for sanity beyond the self-dynamic" After earning his bachelor of arts (in fine art) in 1993, he spent six of his thinner years trekking across the planet, experimenting with entrepreneurial endeavors, and working in the emerging ESL field of Post-Communist Europe. During that time . . .

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This entry posted by msimmons at 04:22 PM and is filed under Tutoring.
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