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Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times Clockwise from left: KGB Bar, the Strand, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Library Hotel, NoMad Hotel, Algonquin hotel, Café Loup. More Photos »
Eileen Jones – who is most famous for her iconoclastic, working-class brand of film criticism at The eXiled – has just put out Filmsuck, USA , a new collection of writing in ebook form, with a long introductory section that hopes to explain precisely why America’s cinema is in decline.
By KEVIN HELLIKER Steve Schapiro/Corbis
Books & Literature
Twenty years ago, excerpts from Susan Sontag’s only play, “ Alice in Bed ,” appeared in The New Yorker with a brief introduction by the author. The play is a conversation among six female protagonists, three of them nineteenth-century women of letters, the scions of New England Puritan culture: Alice James, Emily Dickinson, and Margaret Fuller. (Fuller is my subject in this week’s magazine .) The figure of Alice, Sontag explained, represented “the all too common reality of a woman who does not know what to do with her genius, her originality, her aggressiveness, and therefore becomes a career invalid.”
By Nick Moran posted at 6:00 am on February 3, 2012 93 [ Ed Note: Don't miss Part Two !] About two months ago, The Millions joined the Tumblr community .
By Nick Moran posted at 6:00 am on August 7, 2012 38 Six months ago, I rounded up a list of my favorite literary Tumblr accounts . Half a year later, I’m pleased to see those blogs still going strong. I’m also pleased to see that a pile of the names on my Wish List came around to the land of likes and reblogs. In that regard, some shout outs are in order: Picador Book Room (and its “ Sunday Sontags ”) has become a favorite of The Millions ’ social media team; The Strand made its way onto the blogging platform and we’re all better because of it; Poetry Magazine continues to draw from its enviable archives to bring some really exciting content to our Dashboard; and — whether it’s due to my friendly dig or their own volition — The Paris Review ’s presence has been especially awesome of late. Indeed, the literary community on Tumblr is growing stronger by the day, and it has to be noted that a lot of that growth is due to Rachel Fershleiser’s evangelism and infectious enthusiasm.
" Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo " is a grammatically valid sentence in American English , used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs. It has been discussed in literature since 1972 when the sentence was used by William J. Rapaport , an associate professor at the University at Buffalo . [ 1 ] It was posted to Linguist List by Rapaport in 1992. [ 2 ] It was also featured in Steven Pinker 's 1994 book The Language Instinct as an example of a sentence that is "seemingly nonsensical" but grammatical. Pinker names his student Annie Senghas as the inventor of the sentence. [ 3 ]
A garden path sentence is a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that a reader's most likely interpretation will be incorrect; the reader is lured into a parse that turns out to be a dead end. Garden path sentences are used in psycholinguistics to illustrate the fact that when human beings read, they process language one word at a time. "Garden path" refers to the saying "to be led down the garden path", meaning "to be misled". According to one current psycholinguistic theory, as a person reads a garden path sentence, the reader builds up a structure of meaning one word at a time. At some point, it becomes clear to the reader that the next word or phrase cannot be incorporated into the structure built up thus far; it is inconsistent with the path down which they have been led.
Yesterday, the Open University released ‘The History of English in 10 Minutes,’ a witty animated sequence that takes you through 1600 years of linguistic history. The Vikings gave us “give” and “take.” Shakespeare added another 2,000 words and expressions to the mix. The British Empire (see video above) then brought the evolving English language to new lands, creating new varieties of English worldwide. And so the story continues.
Y’all ( / j ɔː l / yawl ) is a contraction of the words "you" and "all". It is used as a plural second-person pronoun . Commonly believed to have originated in the Southern United States , it is primarily associated with Southern American English , African-American Vernacular English , and some dialects of the Western United States . [ 2 ] It is also found in the English-speaking islands of the West Indies .
Q From Steve Gearhart : Where does the term baited breath come from, as in: ‘I am waiting with baited breath for your answer’? A The correct spelling is actually bated breath but it’s so common these days to see it written as baited breath that there’s every chance that it will soon become the usual form, to the disgust of conservative speakers and the confusion of dictionary writers. Examples in newspapers and magazines are legion; this one appeared in the Daily Mirror on 12 April 2003: “She hasn’t responded yet but Michael is waiting with baited breath”. It’s easy to mock, but there’s a real problem here. Bated and baited sound the same and we no longer use bated (let alone the verb to bate ), outside this one set phrase, which has become an idiom. Confusion is almost inevitable.
The handful of books and tracts in which these words first appeared was even more remarkable than the coinages, a body of work as strange and unclassifiable as any in English literature. That this doctor’s name — Thomas Browne — no longer keeps company, at least in America, with those of Shakespeare, Chaucer and other architects of the language would have come as a great disappointment to a multitude of other authors who revered Browne and passed his writings along, generation to generation, like a kind of formula for the philosopher’s stone. Coleridge numbered him among his “first favourites.” Emily Dickinson kept an edition of Browne at her bedside. Melville, whose style was deeply indebted to him, called him a “crack’d Archangel.”
A man may have no bad habits and have worse.
Reading, Writing, Vocabulary
Article - Spring 2012 Print The speed at which our eyes travel across the printed page has serious (and surprising) implications for the way we make sense of words
In his often anthologized essay “On Reading Old Books,” William Hazlitt wrote, “I hate to read new books. There are twenty or thirty volumes that I have read over and over again, and these are the only ones that I have any desire to ever read at all.” This is a rather extreme position on rereading, but he is not alone. Larry McMurtry made a similar point: “If I once read for adventure, I now read for security. How nice to be able to return to what won’t change.
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