Customer Service

So the phone rings, and it’s my old friend and mentor Lars Abraham. You remember Lars. He teaches four courses in English per semester at Seattle State University, as a


Recently we got a memo from the Provost’s Office insisting that we encrypt our laptop computers with military-grade security software. Since I went to graduate school for English and not

Literary Bicentenary: Goncharov

Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov was born on 18 June 1812 (adjusting for the vagaries of the Russian calendar). Today is his 200th birthday. Goncharov wrote Oblomov, and Oblomov made Goncharov’s reputation

The Flow of Research

The phone rings again, and for the second time this month, it’s my old mentor Lars Abraham, Professor of English Semi-Emeritus, calling from his office at Seattle State. “Lars!” I

The University as Crunchyco

So the phone rings, and it’s my mentor and old friend Lars Abraham, eightysomething Professor of English Semi-Emeritus at Seattle State University. “Lars!” I said, feeling bad for not having

Babel No More

I have never thought of myself as particularly good at languages. This despite my reputation in my workplace as someone who can read anything. Indeed, on lection, in the past

Walking the Walk

In her confused and querulous review of Henry Hitchings’ The Language Wars, Joan Acocella casts opprobrium on “anything goes” linguistic descriptivists. Such academics, she implies, carefully prune their own language

The Rules of Language

A desperately confused book review by Joan Acocella has touched off a flurry of corrective reactions from the online linguistics community, including two excellent posts by Mark Liberman at the

Literary Bicentenary: Robert Browning

Robert Browning was born on 7 May 1812; today is his 200th birthday. Like many readers’, my first exposure to Browning was “My Last Duchess.” It is probably the most-orally-interpreted

Literary Obituary: Adrienne Rich, 1929-2012

It’s an old-fashioned, an outrageous thing To believe one has a “destiny” — a thought often peculiar to those who possess privilege — but there is something else:   the faith of

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