By Anne Curzan. Two Sundays ago, a graph in The New York Times Magazine caught my eye. The title was “Dear Reader: Are You Prone to Profanity?” The graph captured the results of an online study conducted by the newspaper’s research-and-analytics department in January. More...
By Lucy Ferriss. Maybe John McWhorter is just being provocative in his post “Why Kim Kardashian Can’t Write Good.” Following up on his argument that texting and tweeting amount to “talking with your fingers,” he contends that we are at the dawn of a renewed oral society. We shouldn’t be so concerned, he says, that our students’ formal writing skills are slipping. Other primarily oral societies — the ancient Greeks, for instance — managed to think critically and develop persuasive arguments. More...
The End of Irony. Or Not.
By Ben Yagoda. “What’s all this irony and pity?”
“What? Don’t you know about Irony and Pity?”
“No. Who got it up?”
“Everybody. They’re mad about it in New York.”
–Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
To paraphrase Philip Larkin, irony began in 1973, between Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye and Randy Newman’s fifth LP. More...
Their Excellencies, the Conference of Secretaries
By Allan Metcalf. Nearly a century ago, in 1919, an association of these associations in the humanities and social sciences was formed, calling itself the American Council of Learned Societies. There were 13 original members, including the American Philosophical Society, the Archaeological Institute of America, and the American Historical Association; today there are 73, including such diverse groups as the African Studies Association, the American Society for Legal History, the American Folklore Society, the Society for Music Theory, the Dictionary Society of North America, and the Society for the History of Technology. More...
Competence, Performance, and Climate
By Geoffrey Pullum. Noam Chomsky’s distinction between competence and performance has been controversial in linguistics and psycholinguistics for 50 years. The proponents of generative grammar presuppose it and rely on it, and have tried explaining the distinction many times, often unsuccessfully. I recently came across a neat way to encapsulate it that comes not from a linguist but from a mathematical meteorologist. More...
Designing and Adapting Projects For All Users: Digital Accessibility Workshop (July 27-31)
Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day
From the Archives: At the End of the Academic Year, Looking Back and Looking Forward
Making Accessible Games with Twine Audio
Most Colleges See Fraternities as Among Their Top Liability Risks
By Chronicle Staff. Report: “URMIA Survey Shows Institutions Are Attempting to Manage Fraternity Risk”
Organization: University Risk Management and Insurance Association
Summary: In the wake of numerous news reports of bad, and sometimes criminal, behavior by fraternities and their members, the association surveyed its members to see if colleges are reconsidering how they oversee those organizations. More...