Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Pen and the Sword

I would never say that I am an expert on the English language, but after 54 years of hearing it, 53 years of speaking it, 48 years of reading it, 12 years of learning it, 6 years of studying it, and 24 years of teaching it, I might call myself an experienced practitioner.

Even so, my spell check just told me to correct that last word from practionor. It happens! In fact, although I am able to address almost all of the grammatical and vocabulary needs of my sixth graders, I am unfamiliar with at least a third of my word-of-the-day calendar entries, and sometimes, when researching resources to use in my class I find myself in a little bit of deep water.

Oh, I can tread away, dear reader, but one must recognize her deficits if one expects to improve. Take the term synecdoche, for example. The first time I came across it on a list of figurative language devices, I had no idea how to pronounce it (sin-eck'-doh-key), much less what it meant. Once I learned that it was the practice of representing something by one of its a parts, like Washington, for the U.S. government, John Hancock for a signature, or suits for guys in charge, I understood the term, but I'll be darned if I can remember it to use in conversation.

It's on the tip of my tongue, though.

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