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Be clear. Omit needless words. Revise and rewrite. To any English student, these aphorisms should be familiar: They’re the commandments inscribed in “The Elements of Style,” the legendary manual that has shaped Americans’ understanding of language for decades.
Linguists have long recognized that women are the pioneers of language change. Women typically innovate linguistic changes, like a shift in vowel sounds, and men catch up half a generation later.
They’re the words you didn’t learn in English class. Honeyfuggle. Pinkwink. Schnickelfritz.
Why are Greek people fatter than other Europeans? Why are some cultures more frugal than others? Because it’s built into their language.
What do you call someone who speaks several languages? Multilingual. What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.
We’ve all seen the effect “Twilight” has had on America’s teenage girls.
British singer Kate Bush released her new album Monday, and linguists everywhere held their breath.
The argument that “kids these days” are degrading the English language is a tired one, but that doesn’t stop grown-ups from making it.
I entered the cozy, well-lit conference room in a Los Angeles hotel and surveyed my competition.
In newspapers across the country, there are two words people say hundreds of times a day yet almost never make it to print.
I’m not talking about vulgarities here. I’m talking about the harmless sounds “um” and “uh.”
We all know politicians craft their messages carefully. As the saying goes, it’s not what you say but how you say it.
If there’s one issue on which every American seems to have an opinion, it’s the economy. This week, I’m answering your questions on America’s hottest topic.
As Republican presidential candidates crisscross the country, Americans are asking themselves one question: What do we do with our opening-round Scrabble tiles?
Four cups of yogurt lie abandoned on the top shelf of the freezer.
Sophomore David Hare is spending his summer traversing the United States on a bicycle.Consider it a twice-in-a-lifetime experience.Three years after completing the 3,700-mile trek as a 15 year old with his fellow Boy Scouts, Hare is leading a group of local teenagers on the 70-day voyage from Aberdeen, Md., to Anacortes, Wash.The group, co-led by Troop 845 Assistant Scoutmaster Brian Burnham, departs Monday.Hare said he is looking forward to guiding the bikers, who will grind out more than 3,700 miles through the Midwest and several Canadian border states on their way to the Pacific coast before flying home in August.“This time it’ll be easier because I know what I’m getting into,” said Hare, a business major and Troop 845 Eagle Scout. “I have the mindset I need going into it, to know you can do it, the way to get through it.”The route will be almost identical to the one Hare took in 2007, when his team broke the Boy Scouts record for longest trip. Burnham added 50 miles in Wyoming to this year’s itinerary, earning this group the new record.On a trial run from Chapel Hill to Wilmington in April, the crew learned what a weekend’s worth of biking felt like. Many of the riders have little riding experience, Hare said.“None of us would classify ourselves as bikers,” he said. “But the main push for us to go on the trip is the whole idea of being away all summer and doing something you’ll never do again.”The boys are using the trip to raise money for UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where Hare’s mother was treated for breast cancer in 2001. They’ll be collecting donations as they wind through the United States, aiming to top 2007’s fundraising total of $18,600.Along for the ride are two other UNC students — seniors Charles LePrevost and Sam Ward — and UNC alumnus Alex Johnson.LePrevost, a health policy and management major, will be measuring the bike-friendliness of towns and trails throughout the country as a part of his research for the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He will also conduct a nutritional analysis of corner stores in small towns.Ward, a photojournalism student, will document the trip through photography and video, and said he hopes to use his work in his honors thesis.Ward took part in a cross-country trip led by Burnham in 2005.“I’m not as nervous on the bike as I was then,” he said. “That frees me up to focus on the passing countryside and really take in all the small towns, the people we meet, the mountains that we climb.”The kids are a mix of Boy Scouts and baseball players Burnham coached at Smith Middle School. Some are as young as 15 years old.Ty Fenton, who graduates from Carrboro High School on Saturday, said he isn’t nervous, although his mother might be.“I had to promise I’d text her at least once a day,” he said.A number of challenges await the group, said Burnham, who has biked cross-country three times since 2003. The boys will have to battle the blazing sun, strong winds and rough roads, maintain their bikes and grapple with homesickness and fatigue, all while hauling more than 40 pounds of supplies with them.“One of the hardest things about the trip is that there’s no single hardest part,” Burnham said. “There’s a new challenge every day.”Depending on one another to reach their nightly campsite allows the kids to grow closer, he said.“One of the big things that goes on on the trip is the group camaraderie. People get bonded really tightly together,” he said. “You leave friends and family behind, and you become family when you’re out there.”Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It wasn’t until 12:30 a.m. — five-and-a-half hours after it began — that last week’s Chapel Hill Town Council meeting adjourned.But council members weren’t so drained at Monday’s meeting when, at 9:10 p.m., they discussed their final issue of the night: making their meetings shorter.Seemingly interminable business meetings and public hearings, which begin most Mondays at 7 p.m. but sometimes drag on beyond midnight, could be taking a toll on the town and some of its officials.Decisions made by weary council members late in the night don’t serve residents well, council member Laurin Easthom said.In a petition to the board, she requested town staff look into ways to make future meetings end earlier.“It’s not fair to anybody,” Easthom said. “It’s not fair to the council, the staff … the citizens who have to sit for four-and-a-half hours to be heard.”In the meantime, she said, the council should enforce a rule in its procedure manual that calls for a vote on whether to proceed with agenda items after 10:30 p.m. And as a courtesy to residents who come in hopes of speaking at the lectern, agendas should be labeled with a warning saying the council may not complete the agenda when meetings run late, Easthom said.Critical issues such as permits for local developments often arise as the time nears midnight, council member Penny Rich said in an interview.“You really want to be on your toes when you’re talking about development, and I feel like I’m not because I’m tired,” she said.Those items could be pushed to later meetings.Consistently late meetings also could intimidate future council candidates, Easthom said.But to trim hours off its meetings, the council needs to do a better job of gauging public response to various topics of discussion, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said.Council members may have a better idea than town staff, who make the agenda, as to how long discussions will last, he said.“We hear more,” he said. “We can probably predict with greater accuracy how full the room is going to be on a given night than maybe the staff does.”The petition was referred to town staff, and Kleinschmidt said he would begin implementing the 10:30 p.m. rule more strictly.“I totally support everything everybody has said,” council member Gene Pease said shortly before Kleinschmidt adjourned the meeting at 9:23 p.m.“Let’s get out of here.”Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
Local officials agree something needs to be done about the county’s emergency response.As population steadily grows, Orange County Emergency Services doesn’t have the resources or the personnel to keep up with the rising demand for ambulances.And the problem won’t clear up for at least another year.When county commissioners receive their recommended budget in May, it will not suggest they fund the 29 new staff members the Emergency Services department says it needs.
The Sustainable Community Visioning task force, the committee assigned to manage Chapel Hill’s growing population, could be in its final days.The purpose of the group — a question that has divided the group’s 21 members — might have been too unclear for the task force to make progress, members of the Chapel Hill Town Council said at Monday’s meeting.The possible termination of the group came with the concession that the town needs to revise its Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted in 2000 to guide Chapel Hill’s future.Town Manager Roger Stancil will prepare a report discussing the potential updates for the council’s May 24 meeting.The task force was formed in May 2009 by then-mayor Kevin Foy. In late February, four members argued that the group’s guidelines should incorporate the cumulative effects of population growth on the town rather than focus on growth problems in individual areas.“Any particular spot was fine for great density,” said Will Raymond, a task force member and signatory of a letter outlining the problems, in an interview after the meeting. “But the truth of it is not all spots could be high density.” Council member Jim Ward suggested the task force try to work out its guidelines, but task force chairman George Cianciolo said the group doesn’t know how to proceed.“We have two fairly strong differing opinions,” Cianciolo said. “If we go back we could spend another four to six meetings and we’d be back here.”He said the task force, which meets twice a month, can’t make the strides it needs to in order to be effective.“Meeting three hours a month isn’t going to achieve what this council was asking: How should Chapel Hill grow, where should it grow, what it should look like,” Cianciolo said.“The task force … just wasn’t prepared to handle what the question was at hand.”The task force, whose membership has dropped from 24 to 21, could lose more members because of the conflict, Cianciolo said. He said the smaller group might not be representative of Chapel Hill.Council member Donna Bell, who was on the task force before her appointment to the council in January, said it was hard for her to switch between thinking about population growth on a small scale and on a large scale.“It’s really difficult to be at five feet and be at 10,000 feet at the same time,” she said.Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction, 12:45 p.m. March 26: Due to editing errors, this story's original headline incorrectly stated that the Assembly of Governments planned to increase funding for the county's EMS department. The assembly discussed the option, but made no decision. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
Firefighters found two bodies inside a Chapel Hill duplex after responding to a fire Friday night.The Chapel Hill Fire Department was called at 9:59 p.m. to the blaze at 1819 Legion Road Ext. Five units put out the fire by 10:16 p.m., according to a fire department press release.Although the victims have not been identified by authorities, property owner John McPhaul of McPhaul Real Estate said they are most likely Michael and Lesley Hirsch, who rented the duplex about a year and a half ago.The retired couple from Florida was renting both sides of the duplex and slept in separate rooms because of Michael’s snoring, McPhaul said. He said the damage was contained to one side of the structure.“It’s always a nightmare to have a fire in a rental property,” McPhaul said. “It’s just a tragedy for someone to die.”The Chapel Hill Police Department, fire department and the State Bureau of Investigation have opened a criminal investigation on the cause of the fire. McPhaul said his wife spoke with the fire department Sunday, who said the investigation was protocol.“Their implication was whatever it is … it didn’t seem like there was anything criminal,” he said.Four fire crews from Chapel Hill and one from Durham were used to extinguish the fire, the press release said. Both victims were dead when firefighters discovered them.McPhaul said the Hirsches, who were in their 60s, were an eclectic and interesting couple. Lesley would use “Chinese remedies” in lieu of visiting the doctor, he said. Michael would practice tai chi on the lawn.Neighbor Clayton Harvey said the Hirsches were well-liked in the community.“When I moved here, he was the first one to speak to me when I was out taking my trash one day,” he said. “It was a tragic loss.”Police and ambulances remained by the duplex past 3 a.m., several neighbors said.On Sunday two Lexuses were parked outside the home, which was surrounded in caution tape.Neighbor Jay Smith moved across the street five days ago. He said he didn’t know people had died in the house until he saw the news report the next morning.“It’s just really shocking,” McPhaul said. “Everybody’s torn up about it. We’re just waiting to find out what the cause was and take it from there.“It makes me feel bad I didn’t check on them more often.”Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.