Author Archives: Bob Welbaum

Why is English So Popular?

If the English language is so idiomatic (as discussed yesterday), why does it enjoy worldwide popularity?  Language-wise, the book The Story of English gives three reasons: — Unlike all the other European languages, gender is determined by meaning, so a noun doesn’t have to be matched with the right article. For example, in French the moon

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Beware of Heard…

Beware of heard, a dreadful word That looks like beard and sounds like bird, And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead — For goodness’ sake, don’t call it deed! Presumably written by a frustrated immigrant trying to learn the language, this poem exemplifies the inconsistencies in English. As related in The Story of English

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Happy New Year!

“An optimist stays up to see the New Year in.  A pessimist waits to make sure the old one leaves.”   —   Bill Vaughn   “Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right.”   —   Oprah Winfrey   http://www.quotationspage.com/        

Team of Rivals

I recently finished reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  A fascinating book, it was really a political history of four men. I always wondered how Lincoln was able to win the presidential nomonation with so little experience in Washington. (He positioned himself as everyone’s second choice.)  Of

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