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There are certain fundamental aspects of language:

1) Grammar and Syntax which enable clarity

2)Writing, whereby we contribute to the broader culture.

3) Reading, whereby, in every discipline, the cultural contribution of other places and generations is available to us — if we are literate.

Language skills
    Many skills contribute to competence in language.

Does handwriting matter?
    Lots of good people have bad handwriting. Nevertheless, it must be said that the hand maps very close to the mouth in the brain, and this discipline helps you with all linguistic activity -- including thinking! 
    Write neatly. When you doodle, practice learning to have control of your pencil. The research on brain maps reminds us that this way of interacting with the world is part of yourself. Give it your attention.
    Typing is not the same. It does not affect the brain the same way, and it does not touch the recipient the same way. He feels the impersonality of it.

Does spelling matter? 
    Lots of good people can't spell, but it matters if you cannot read what you have written. Not to upset those who have dyslexias of various kinds, but no habit of carelessness is good. 

Does everyone have to write?
    No. Only a few kinds of people need to write: the ones who want to remember what happens, and the ones who want to be able to talk to someone far away in time or space. 
    And a third: those who believe that "a short pencil is better than a long memory."
     You have things to say, and you will have more things as time goes on.

Does reading matter?
    There are good and intelligent people who, even as adults, cannot read well and do not read unless they have to. If they do their work well, they make a contribution to culture. Still, it is a loss. Their cultural power is limited, and their grasp of new ideas inevitably falls behind.

Does listening matter?
    It only matters if you want to have friends. Actually, this is part of human nature. Everyone must learn to listen, and if you don't learn, you will not be able to form deep friendships.

Does making conversation matter? 
    It only matters if you want to build relationships. Actually, that is part of human nature; we were made for love.
     Making conversation is not just about keeping afloat socially; it is about taking an interest in what others' lives are made of and communicating that interest. 
    It is also about having kind, helpful, and interesting reflections on matters that will be interesting to people who may need friendship in ways we might not be aware of right in the moment.

Literature Essay Links
History Page

What is Grammar... Syntax?
What is the difference between grammar and syntax? A description of word functions and word relationships.  |link|

What is poetry
A brief reflection on the two elements that make poetry such a strong kind of language. |Link|

​Homage to Hopkins
This is just a fun verse, more or less inspired by Hopkins' own style in the Windhover. It is meant as a companion to the very short essay, what is poetry. |Link|

Introduction to Emily Dickinson
The greatest of American poets was this reclusive woman who so loved God. Explains the background of the book Into Deep Eternity. |Link| 

Japanese Fairy Tales 
    The story of Issuombochi, a Japanese fairy tale, is included in E.D. Hirsch's little volume, What Every First-Grader should know. It's a good story, familiar to me from Mildred Marmur's translation, but actually, the Hirsch version is culturally very different, a striking example of the way that multiculturalism fails to appreciate the meaning of culture and recognize the beauty in other cultures.
    In my version, the lovers are drawn to each other by a shared love of learning, a very oriental perspective.  I put quite a lot of effort into finding the holder of the copyright to this work, but was not successful. Here is the story with Benvenuti's evocative drawings. |Link|

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