Tag Archives: learning support

Anachronism (n)

“A term used to distinguish anything out of its proper time. Shakespeare’s references to cannons in King John, a play which takes place before cannons came into use, to clocks in Julius Caesar, and to billiards in Antony and Cleopatra, are examples of anachronisms. In literature, anachronisms are sometimes used deliberately as comic devices to emphasized universal timelessness.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.


Traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the worldview of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. Myths relate the events, conditions, and deeds of gods or superhuman beings that are outside ordinary human life and yet basic to it. These events are set in a time altogether different from historical time, often at the beginning of creation or at an early stage of prehistory. A people’s myths are usually more closely related to their religious beliefs and rituals. The modern study of myth arose with early-19th-century Romanticism. Wilhelm Mannhardt, J.G. Frazer, and others later employed a more comparative approach. Sigmund Freud viewed myth as an expression of repressed ideas, a view later expanded by Carl Jung in his theory of a “collective unconscious” and mythic archetypes that arise out of it. Bronislaw Malinowski emphasized how myth fulfills common social functions, providing a model or “charter” for human behavior. Claude Levi-Strauss has discerned underlying structures in the formal relations and patterns of myth throughout the world. Mircea Eliade and Rudolf Otto held that myth is to understood solely as religious phenomenon. Features of myth are shared by other kinds of literature. Origin tales explain the source or causes of various aspects of nature or human society and life. Fairy tales  deal with extraordinary things and events but lack the authority of myth. Sagas and epics claim authority but reflect specific historical settings.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

A Learning Support on Writers’ Manuals

If you teach writing and want to supply your students with the tools for creating good prose, you might find this short bibliography of writers’ manuals a helpful handout.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: The Riddle of the Sphinx

“What is the riddle of the Sphinx? What animal walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?” the sphinx asks Oedipus, the hero of Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex (426 B.C.). Oedipus answers that it is man (crawling as an infant, walking erect as an adult, and walking with a staff or cane in old age).”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

The Speech Accent Archive at George Mason University

Last spring, George Mason University (GMU) showed up in the current events column for its record of accepting large contributions from Charles and David Koch.  The Kochs’ money bought them, apparently, some latitude in the hiring of faculty, particularly in the economics department, at GMU. Transparent GMU, an activist group dedicated to exposing the relations between donors and GMU and their effect on disinterested inquiry at this institution went to court over the Koch’s relationship with GMU, which literally put the University on the defensive. GMU is not the only post-secondary institution which has accepted money from the Kochs; indeed, another activist organization, Unkoch My Campus, serves as something of a clearinghouse on the Kochs’ largesse and how it is used to influence inquiry and scholarship in colleges and universities.

Charles and David Koch have long sought scholarly support and credibility for their libertarianism which, by some measures, is a fringe ideology. By way of such organizations as the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), they have also sought to shape the political landscape of the United States through “scholarly” writing and political activism–particularly aggressive lobbying. All of this has been extensively documented just about everywhere someone has taken up pen or word processor to report on the David and Charles Koch’s political activities. That said, I particularly recommend Jane Mayer’s thoroughly documented and in every way excellent book Dark Money, which covers the political effects of corporate spending in elections in the United States by the Kochs and other members of their funding network.

Mark’s Text Terminal is not a political blog, but if this blog and its author stand for anything, it is for learning by way of intellectual independence and scholarly disinterest. If wealthy, self-interested Americans seek to create scholarly and/or institutional legitimacy for themselves at the expense of scholarly freedom, then I must speak. This is one of those moments, and one of those situations.

All the news from GMU is not bad, however. The above excursus is simply a long way around to calling teachers’ attention to the interesting and potentially quite useful Speech Accent Archive at George Mason University. This appears to be one of the intellectual bright spots at GMU. For the classroom teacher at the elementary and secondary level, particularly those working with English language learners, I think this is a valuable resource. If nothing else, though, it is a pretty cool piece of scholarship, for which George Mason University, in spite of whatever compromises it made with unscrupulous, self-interested donors, should be commended.

A Learning Support on Using Adverbs of Time

Here, on a rainy Saturday morning, is a learning support on using adverbs of time.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Learning Support on Roman Gods and Goddesses

Here is a learning support on the primary Roman deities.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.