John McWhorter gives an interesting and engaging Ted Talk about texting and how many bemoan the way in which texting is dumbing us down. Well, not me. I don’t text.

Although, now that I am following those butterflies (my super cute phrase for dating), I have started texting. However, I am a one-fingered texter due to the fact that finances only permit me to have a cheap, disposable phone. And because I still can’t bring myself to embrace the texting culture and its language, I spell every last word out and use correct punctuation.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine how long that takes. And if you can’t? Well, let’s just say I could crank out a well-crafted essay in the time it would take me to text, “Good morning! How was your night? I just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and can’t wait to see you again.” To be honest, I would like to loosen up in regards to texting, because it would be great to communicate at a rate other than a snail’s pace. 

True story…

Anyhow, John McWhorter makes some excellent points in regards to texting not being the downfall of Western Society.

  1. Texting is meant to communicate how we talk, not how we write. In reality, “we don’t always (even usually) speak in complete, prescriptively grammatical sentences” (Curzan 458). Texting is an informal method of communication used to convey relaxed or casual speech.
  2. Criticism and disdain for the incompetence of youth and their use of language can be traced back thousands of years. We’re not the first.
  3. It’s actually beneficial to be able to use text language as it shows adaptability and versatility.

No, we’re not the first to believe language is being brutally murdered by incompetent youth.  The fact is, language is not being butchered, it is simply changing. The reason I believe this is because time is not stagnant. It is fluid and so is language. Language has to change because times change. And the youth are not incompetent. They’re creating something new, something that works for the times we live in now, not twenty years ago.

With that in mind, processes which shorten words (clipping, alphabetism, acronymy, and backformation) thus allowing for more efficient communication will continue to be utilized.

In contemplation, ofc @TEOTD yolo. It’s all about perspective. We look at life through our own individual lenses but sometimes forget every so often we need to change them.

Adams, Michael, and Anne Curzan. How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction. Pearson, 2012.

I have an aversion to profanity. I do. My fifteen-year-old son would have me subscribe to the attitude that a word is just a word. I will not. I must draw the line somewhere, and profanity is that line.

Imagine my shock when, after being a stay-at-home mom for nearly fifteen years, I walked back into a high school and heard profanity filling the halls, cafeteria, and even my classroom. Shock! Gasp! Horror! Had I been “gone” that long? When I was in school, a kid would not dare curse anywhere near a teacher. Have things changed so much in twenty-five years?

But I suppose it’s not too surprising when profanity has saturated nearly everything, even academic books. In chapter four of How English Works, I was disappointed to find the author chose to use profanity as one example of an expletive infix. Upon further contemplation, I could think of very little expletive infixes that did not use profane words as the inserted word. Luckily, I found a website that reintroduced me to other examples I had forgotten.

Meet Ned Flanders.


He inserts “diddly” into many of his words making them playful in the process. Which is more playful, fantastic or fandiddlytastic? I know which one is more fun to say. Fandiddlytastic! Unlike prefixes, which inserts an affix at the beginning or end of a base word and changes the meaning of the word, infixes are placed within the word and do not change the meaning. They simply add emphasis.

What is interesting is that, “despite their use in slang rather than standard language, linguists have found that these infixes follow systematic phonological rules in the way they may be placed and these rules tell us a lot about prosodic structure and the internal linguistic knowledge of speakers of the language” (Luu). The inserted word, such as “bloody” (absobloodylutely), “ma” (edumacation), along with Ned’s “diddly” are naturally inserted before the stressed syllable of a word.

It is an intuitive thing that English speakers do without giving it much thought and illustrates that even with non-standard English, there are still natural rules that we all are compelled to follow.

Adams, Michael, and Anne Curzan. How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction, 3rd Edition. Pearson, 2012.

Luu, Chi. “Fanf–kingtastic and Edumacational: The Case of English Infixation.” JSTOR Daily: Where News Meets Its Scholarly Match.

I decided eight weeks ago that I would pursue an MA in English for three different reasons. The first is that I am a single mother, and during the weekends when my children are away, I find myself under the covers “binge-racing” series after series. I decided I needed forced structure in the form of discussion boards and due dates.
The second point is that I love literature, I love language, and I love learning. Learning how to fix a sentence that is not translating smoothly is necessary to write well and to teach well. And it’s simply fun!
The third reason is that I will be seeking an English teaching job, preferably with all Honors and AP classes filled with motivated students who want to work. That is if I can ever pass the ultra-relevant-to-teaching-English-at-the-secondary-level math praxis. I figured if by chance the math praxis turns out to be my Moby Dick, I can always teach at the college level. I hear the pay is fantastic!
So in thinking about words, what even makes a word real? An art appreciation professor posed this same question to me years ago. What makes art real? And who is to judge? Is a crumpled piece of paper art if a person claims it to be? Or anything by Jackson Pollock for that matter? Or what about Marcel Duchamp? Is his urinal art when compared to Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith painting?
My initial response was no! But in considering the question, one has to go beyond their tastes and preferences and consider other factors. Cultural context matters. Social factors matter. Just as Gentileschi was influenced by the demands of the religious climate, so Duchamp and the Dadaists were affected by the first global war and the culture that allowed such a travesty to occur. Just as art changes with the times, so does language.

So again, what makes a word real? People make a word real, just as people make art, music, or poetry real. People create words, and people give those words meaning. As Anne Curzan mentions in her Ted Talk, language is a living thing. It changes as we change. Whether or not we want to accept it matters not.

I detest lol, but if I remember that it is shorthand used in informal situations such as texting or on social media, then I am more inclined to acknowledge it. I still don’t like it, but I can accept it. My new favorite word, although my twelve-year-old told me it’s out of fashion now, is “derpy.” Derpy means stupid. It’s a little less harsh than the word stupid which is why I like it. And if I’m honest, it’s a fun word to say.
What are some of your favorite “real” words?

“Make it new!”

That was the rallying cry of Ezra Pound harkened to by young artists of the early twentieth century. This period would later be coined “modern” due to the rapid advancement in industry, technology, science, and women’s liberation among other things. Western civilization was pulsating with electricity. Read More


Window pane.

Window glass.

Window to the outside for my child’s eyes belonging to my little child’s body whose bottom is firmly planted on the hard, metal chair. Forever planted among lectures on the ABC’s of languid language that has been far surpassed by my fresh imagination feeding off The Dark Crystal, The Never Ending Story, the wild pursuits of a mouse in a plane soaring far above the ground, a mouse in the clouds, and a boxcar filled with children and chipped china.

Firmly planted on the hard, metal chair among posters reading, Today is a Good Day to Learn Something New, and I Can Wait My Turn, and Classroom Rules.

Firmly planted among the old and tired equations of 2+2=4, but oh what a world if 2+2= a secret door to a secret world contained in the chalkboard and all that was needed was a piece of chalk to unlock it.

Oh Aslan! Oh Aslan! I hear you roar!

Oh what a world when all that is standing between me and my firmly planted and ever increasingly numb bottom is the teacher clasping the key in her hand.

Rise up young soul! Conquer the beast! A tiny but brave voice shouts from out of the depths between spelling bees and geography where See My Horse Eat Oats is code for Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario hurrah!!

But the hand on the clock is ticking the seconds away, ticking the seconds away to the outside, the sunshine, the air and the birds. To kickball and tag and childish pursuits.

The bell rings, feet shuffle, the window is closing.

Tomorrow then.




A purple beast came from the East

and didn’t care a bit

for what he found all around

the West seemed quite unfit

to lead the world with morals furled

its hilltop light unlit

so the beast did pray and went on his way

in search of the Spirit.


I accept the day is light.

I accept the dark is night.

I accept wrong is not right.

I accept right can feel tight.


I accept tight can be good.

I accept good is misunderstood.

I accept good often hides in a could.

I accept a could would be better a should.


I accept my days are numbered.

I accept too soon I will slumber.

I accept it will be unencumbered.

I accept my Lord will remember.




Minimal is an animal

something quite sustainable

a bird which flies

a pig in a sty

Minimal is hospitable.

Minimal is an animal

something quite attainable

remove your shirt

bathe in the dirt

Minimal is affable.

Minimal is an animal

something quite reasonable

it takes what it needs

does not  over feed

Minimal is admirable.

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Silence. It was what she sought out purposefully with all of the intention of a jackhammer breaking apart concrete. It was elusive, however, just like Santa or the Tooth Fairy. She could not remember when this quest for silence began. When she was ten she thought to take a vow of silence, but of course her mother pointed out the impracticality of that idea. How would she be able to answer questions directed to her by her teacher? She would surely be singled out a disrespectful, or even worse, a weird child. And God forbid she fall into a raging river, what then? She would most certainly have to yell for help. Never mind the fact that the nearest river was 62.8 miles away from her house, arguing with her mother was about as futile as hitting a piñata with a pussy willow. After giving it some thought, she was able to resign herself to the death of her vow of silence knowing that it would make very little difference if she still had to listen to the chit and the chatter of everyone else.

All of the chatter and noise that surrounded her was like a hive of bees in her head, a hive that had been knocked down from a tree by a little boy wielding a very big stick. The bees were angry. The bees were loud. And the bees were always buzzing. They chased her thoughts with their stingers ready to strike, dripping not with honey, but with hostility. And so in an attempt to escape the belligerent buzzing of the bees and their eager stingers, she jumped into a lake deep within her mind. She retreated so far within herself that she became lost to those who knew her.

The water was frigid at first, until her muscles relaxed into it. She imagined this was what death was like, a complete and total surrender of flesh, but more importantly, a complete and total surrender of mind. So she adapted ways to remain anchored in this self-made lake. Rocking back and forth, whether sitting at her desk in school or riding in the backseat of her mother’s VW station wagon, the rhythmical rocking was hypnotic and helped to keep her mind still, so still in fact, that the bees could not see her. She was tethered to the bottom of the lake, fixedly floating like an aquatic field of Hydrilla. She could see the tiny specks buzzing above the surface of her lake, like some creation on an etch-a-sketch, searching futilely for her, but she was safe in her underwater sanctuary.

And so the hours turned into days, turning into weeks and months, and as it always happens years began to pass by. So many attempts were made to place a label upon her. Strange, shy, stupid, boring, freak…but the labels never made it to her. They stuck to the surface of her lake, floating like delicate white water Lilies, until the words bled from the paper and the ink turned into beautiful, colored swirls. They became her Aurora Borealis.

I’ve conquered the dark and

the grey in between

the dark and the light

and what is unseen.

I’ve conquered the seen

and all that I know

the fears which seek

to flourish and  grow.

I’ve conquered the heights

and I’ve conquered the depths

I’ve conquered love

in all of its breadth.

But when the day comes

and I draw my last breath

the only thing to conquer

will be my own death.