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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Italiano- que bella ! Looking at familiar words through new eyes.

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I’m studying Italian and che bella language. I was reading the history of the Medici family, and noticed the word Parliamento.  When I think of the word Parliament, I of course imagine the Parliament buildings, but in fact, the original Parliament was obviously related to the root PARLE  – to speak. In fact, the signores would gather in Florence to discuss matters of political importance. So many of the words are Greek and Latin cognates- and they share much with Spanish and French. Tavola, le table…. Another fascinating...

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In Other Words- Jumpa Lahiri

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I’m currently reading Jhumpha Lahiri’s book In Other Words which is in fact her journey into learning another language- in this case Italian. The book resonates with me because I also feel so thrilled when I feel the word in my bones, feel it bouncing off my tongue, and feel understood by a native speaker. I taught myself a decent amount of Greek, and would thrill at the sounds cascading around my mouth. Just articulating such a beautiful language as Greek, or in this case Italian, is enough. Her book is written in Italian and...

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How to Ace English Provincial Exams

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The provincial exam is very important for grade twelves, and can make or break a university admission. Here are some tips for successfully and easily attaining an A. For the multiple choice, think of Goldilocks. One choice will be too broad, one too narrow and two will be close. Use elimination. Of the remaining two, look back at the text and ask yourself which one best suits the answer. All answers are in the stories or poems. For the essays, always follow this formula which is quick, easy and logical. Begin with a hook, and lead into author...

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Gifted Learners

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These days, I have the pleasure of meeting gifted learners. Some of them have a designated learning challenge. From my experience, they are so bright, they can’t slow down to the mundane level of school. Unfortunately, the educational system can only bend so far as there are so many students. If memory is an issue, break the content into smaller chunks. Go forwards and backwards. Show the student a sample of model writing which is interesting to read. Then, deconstruct the essay into its topic sentences and main points. Finally, read it...

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Esi Edugyan wins the Giller Prize- twice!

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Washington Black: A must read! If you have not heard of Esi Edugyan, you are in for a grand surprise. I’m a voracious reader, but I can’t remember the last time I stayed up until 2 a.m. to read, and then finished the novel at 7 a.m-over 400 pages of pure bliss! Washington Black is a young slave, brutally abused and scarred on a plantation in Barbados, in 1830. The narrative sweeps the reader through stunning descriptions of life on a plantation, capturing the colonial atmosphere in breathtaking detail. Erasmus Wilde , the owner,...

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My dinner with Emily , former student and author

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A Cruelty Special to our Species Emily Yoon, my former student and author of A Cruelty Special to our Species paid me a visit Friday evening after doing a reading and workshop at SMUS, her former school. Her poetry addresses a topic rarely discussed- The occupation of Korea and abuse of women. Her poetry is lucid and strong, describing atrocities which are never openly touched upon. I’m so proud of her. Her book has received rave reviews and is well worth reading.I’m so proud of you sweet...

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Gender neutral pronouns. Crossing the linguistic bridge.

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I have just written a proposal to the Oxford Dictionary committee that the word e (pronounced E) be created as a gender neutral third person singular pronoun. English would have he/ she / e / to describe trans-gendered people who do not identify strongly with either male or female traits. I met a store clerk the other day who was wearing the same blue nail polish as I was. I had blue toes and he/she had blue fingernails. We had a very interesting conversation and when I left, I felt awkward realizing that there was no pronoun for him/ her....

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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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