Utopia in Four Movements

Saw an absolutely fascinating movie yesterday at the ICA: Utopia in Four Movements. This engaging film, which premiered last year at Sundance, is unusual in at least two ways. First, although it has music and voice-over like most documentaries, both… Read More ›

Making order out of chaos

BSP*: Come hear my talk on linguistics at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, February 1, at the Weston Public Library! Here’s a description: Making order out of chaos: A conversation about linguistics “Linguistics? What’s that?” This is the usual response I… Read More ›

Names of polygons

Why do so many of my students use incorrect names for various polygons? They claim that they are merely recalling what they have been taught; maybe this is so, maybe not.  I suppose there are two major possibilities: They are… Read More ›

Born to Kvetch

So what’s not to love about this book? Just don’t expect Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish, which is a much lighter and less consequential work. Michael Wex’s Born to Kvetch is a serious, in-depth, expert analysis of conversational Yiddish… Read More ›

Making order out of chaos

My principal has selected me to give the first presentation in a proposed series of talks to be delivered by faculty and staff; the audience will consist of colleagues, students, parents, and community members. I’ve written a very rough description… Read More ›

Lost in Lexicon

If you regularly see my Facebook status in your News Feed, you may have noticed that it said “I’m lost in Lexicon right now…” on October 17. This status confused some of my students. One of them asked, “How did… Read More ›

Daylight saving time

Why is it that so many people say “daylight savings time” when the correct phrase so clearly is “daylight saving time”???? Do they think it’s like a savings account, where you put an hour of daylight in at one time… Read More ›

Facebook “friends”

Listen in on this conversation: Teacher 1: I hear that you friend your students on Facebook. Teacher 2: Not exactly. I accept friend requests from current and former students. But I never initiate them. Teacher 1: Even so, it’s a… Read More ›


What more can I add to all the chatter about James Cameron’s Avatar? Not much, except to share my opinions. You probably already know all that you need to know about this movie, and I certainly don’t want to include any… Read More ›