What does “I was, like…” mean?

In the spring, I had the great pleasure of seeing a bit of David Crystal talk at the 2020 Digital Hay Festival. (By the way, if anyone is looking to for a great Christmas present, his latest book looks amazing!) and I was rather pleased to hear him, as a well-known and respected linguist, defend teenspeak/Valley Girl with words such as “like”. In fact, he did a wonderful example of “I was, like,” and do a shocked face. It reminded me of the first 5 seconds of this clip reminded me of the first 10 seconds of this clip […]

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Readers Theatre or reader’s theater or Something Else?

One of the challenges of writing about and publishing lots of books about drama in language education is trying to decide what to call the thing where students read plays or dramatized texts out loud. Is it readers theatre, readers theater, reader’s theater, or reader’s theatre? You’d think it would be easy to solve this problem: check a corpus. Well if Google’s Ngram Viewer is worth anything, it’s clearly reader’s theater, with readers theatre a close second! Which is odd because those two options vary on both spelling and the apostrophe. But the plot thickens. What happens when we […]

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Genre Switching for Better Writing

I belong to a Facebook group for self-published fiction authors many of whom routinely make thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a month. The key to their success? Pick a genre that readers like, read as many examples of it as you can, and then write to that genre. While some might dismiss this approach as putting formula over art, their ability to sell does highlight the importance of genre to readers. When we read a detective novel, we expect certain things to happen. In a horror novel, there are certain things characters will never do or say. […]

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