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Dear readers: Please stop calling us ‘the media.’ There is no such thing.

When my students refer in passing to “the media,” I know what they mean, but I ask them to be more specific, noting that handwritten notes, carvings on stone tablets, and papier mâché are all examples of “media.” So I agree with this WashPo observation that the term is so general it is meaningless. Not too long ago “the press” was a perfectly well-understood nickname for print journalists. When working…

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Annie Sullivan on teaching: 

Helen Keller, rendered blind and deaf after an infection as a toddler, learned the gift of language from her patient and determined teacher, Annie Sullivan. Their story is told in the play The Miracle Worker (and my daughter plays Helen in three more shows this weekend at Latrobe’s Cabaret Theatre). As a young woman Helen Keller wrote her biography The Story of My Life, which also published some of Sullvan’s letters.…

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Study confirms that ending your texts with a period is terrible.

Language evolves, so oldsters like me should get just used to it, right? Well, langauge was evolving long before “text” was a verb, and that’s exactly the reason why the English of Dickens and Shakespeare and Chaucer looks so different from our ordinary speech. I still use a pay-as-you-go dumb phone, and have to pay per message, so I use periods to pack multiple thoughts into each text. I use…