Karl Hagen's blog

10 Aug 2016

Debate Badly

Submitted by Karl Hagen
In a Time article on the Donald Trump's supposed skittishness over the debate format, Trump is quoted as saying "I want to debate very badly." To which the anti-Trump witticism is, "And I'm sure he will."
15 Jun 2016

The Wake

Submitted by Karl Hagen
There's an excellent discussion of the fake Old English in Paul Kingsworth's novel The Wake on The Toast.

Against the recommendation of medievalists I trust, I bought this novel and read about 100 pages before giving up on it. It wasn't that I found the pseudo-Old English incomprehensible. Once upon a time, Old English was my primary field of study, and I got what Kingsworth was trying to do.

9 Apr 2016

What the Hell Happened to Summa?

Submitted by Karl Hagen
I know that many people are confused and upset by Summa Education's abrupt closure. The TLDR version is that Summa was losing money as the result of massive legal expenses, and Summa's owner decided he could no longer afford to put money into the company to keep it afloat.

Update 4/10/16: This remainder of this post has been redacted. I strongly believe that everything I wrote was factual and supported by the evidence, and that people deserve more details about what happened to Summa. For the moment, though, I can say nothing more.

18 Oct 2015

Before Diagrams

Submitted by Karl Hagen
The earliest work to feature sentence diagrams is normally conceded to be S. W. Clark's Practical Grammar (1847). A decade before Clark, however, Frederick A. P. Barnard, who would go on to become president of Columbia College, and for whom Barnard College was named, wrote a very interesting work that is the earliest significant use of graphical symbols to annotate grammatical analysis that I'm aware of.
4 Mar 2015

Lord Reginald and Proper Grammar

Submitted by Karl Hagen
In "honor" of grammar day (an event which profoundly annoys me because it always brings out people's pet peeves about grammar, I present the following Punch cartoon (cited in Richard Bailey's Nineteenth-Century English, showing that middle-class insecurity about language has been around for a long time. It's the governess, not the rich kid, who cares about "proper" speech. She's the one who is socially insecure, after all.
9 Nov 2014
Topic: 
TL;DR: Your name isn't worth any points.

The question comes from the flip remark that, because the minimum score on the SAT is 600 (200 each for the Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing components), you get 600 points for just for filling in your name. In point of fact, this claim is untrue on several levels.

First, if you merely fill in your name on an SAT score sheet and submit it with no questions filled in, College Board interprets the lack of answers as a request to cancel your scores, so you will get no results at all.

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