Lindsay Lewis

English/ ESL consultant: Word worker, writer, teacher, mentor and poet. Author of This Won’t Hurt a Bit! on writing clear content.

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Merry Christmas ! …. stick Happy Holidays up the turkey!!!

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In Orwell’s dystopian novel, the citizens must use Newspeak, a government imposed, restricted version of English which makes complex thought nearly impossible. With the change and reduction of words comes the elimination of intellect. This process enables the government to control the masses. Why have a word such as magnificent when one could use the insipid word double-good. I reflect on the power of words as I observe the insidious phrase Happy Holidays replacing Merry Christmas. Does it matter? Yes, and I’ll explain why....

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Lost and Found: A poignant novel by Brooke Davis. What a gem!!

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Lost and Found is an enchanting novel by the brilliant Australian/ universally cultured author Brooke Davis. In this novel, the protagonist, Milly Bird,  is abandoned by her mother in a clothing department. She is found by an octogenerian, Karl the touch typist, who has run away from his nursing home, and the bereaved Agatha Pantha. The novel’s main appeal is its sincere understanding of the bewildering sense of guilt the child feels. She scrawls notes to her mother on windows and papers, hoping to correct whatever imaginary wrong drove...

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English: The Wild and Crazy Bird

Posted by on 10:41 am in Posts | 0 comments

 After 25 years of teaching, I still love my job. My clients reveal the strange irregularities of English grammar which keep it fascinating.  This week, my Iranian engineer wrote a question using the verb to be. We all know that the verb to be conjugates as follows: I am, you are, he is, we are , you are,  and they are, for it is an amalgamation from two verbs in Old English. My student wrote “Why  I not am getting a promotion.” According to our rules, the affirmative is as follows: I am getting a promotion, you are…etc....

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The Goldfinch: A must read

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I have just discovered Donna Tartt- and if you love literature, her novel The Goldfinch is a must read. The novel is luminescent- every word evokes a place, a feeling, a character. Set in New York , the novel explores the world of Theo, the teenage protagonist whose mother has been tragically killed in an accident. Aside from being a riveting plot, it’s the beauty of each word that makes the novel so noteworthy. Reading it reminds me of learning to dance tango. After mastering the most difficult steps, I finally realized that dancing is...

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Could you say that again please?

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I was looking at runners the other day and the employee at the shoe store had his lovely Labradoodle with him. When his dog began pawing me (he could smell treats), the owner called him.  I was somewhat astonished, however, when he said, “Come here Bastard! ” I thought gosh, that’s an odd name for a dog! Finally I asked the fellow why he called his dog Bastard. “His name isn’t Bastard”, he replied, “It’s Buster!” It all made sense since the gentleman had a very strong German accent. My...

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Thinking of my friends and colleagues in Belgium

Posted by on 11:04 am in Posts | 0 comments

I am horrified to see the latest attacks against humanity and send a big COURAGE to all of my friends, colleagues and students in Belgium . Je t’envoie beaucoup de courage. Je pense a toi.

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Speech: Your business suit

Posted by on 9:03 am in Posts | 0 comments

A few years ago, I was in New York, returning from a Yankees vs Mariners baseball game. On the subway, fans were discussing the game. I was listening to one man speak and within 30 seconds, I had ascertained that he was from Seattle. I said to him, “Oh, you are from Seattle!I’m from Victoria.” Shocked, he asked, “How do you know?” “I’m a linguist”, I replied. “What else can you tell?” he asked. “Pretty well everything “I said,” but you might not like what I tell...

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Portmanteaus and other creative words

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I like to challenge myself to make up new words, so these are a few of my latest. Dentrification: Being wealthy enough to afford invisiline braces, porcelain crowns and lovely teeth. Dentrified:  adjective. I’ve been dentrified!Look at my lovely new crowns! Textibitionist: One who clutters the sidewalk in order to text, forcing others to walk around him. Glaciers have lovely teeth- sharp, shiny and blue. Like sharks, the glacier seems to grow new teeth when a chunk calves, or falls off. Lovely creatures. I took this photo in El...

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babycoyotes.ca- A must see!

Posted by on 9:27 pm in Posts | 0 comments

Hello dear readers. Why am I blogging about babycoyotes? Because one of my amazing philanthropic students created this baby and I’m so proud of her. Meet Vellar Chou and her fabulous ecologically friendly products. Part of her sales go to the Canadian Cancer Society. I’m impressed, and you should be too. As I just finished blogging about Daniel Pink and the new business model, along comes my brilliant student with a classic example. Enjoy, and support a good cause!

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The dynamic nature of language.

Posted by on 11:48 am in Posts | 0 comments

English, our much maligned language, has been criticized for centuries for its irregular grammar and guestimate spelling. Hundreds of years ago, before literacy was widespread, monks slaved away in candle-lit caverns, writing announcements with up to three variants of a word. Later, when Gutenberg invented the printing press, English was forced to comply -to a degree- to create a standardized alphabet. However, the more we try to pin down our bad boy of the romance languages to make it conform, the more our slippery English changes to reflect...

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