Author Archives: achouston

Glass, Bamboo, Curry


I was intrigued by a recent question posted at Quora about whether there is a bamboo ceiling in American corporate culture, parallel to the idea of a glass ceiling, but with reference to the experience of Asians’ efforts to become promoted to … Continue reading

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Vamp 22: The Neighbor’s House


Dean has the cab drop him several blocks from the bar in Georgetown. Instinctively he pulls his baseball cap lower over his forehead to shield his eyes which are no longer hidden behind dark glasses. He thinks consciously about how … Continue reading

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Plural Logic


Forming the plural of a noun in English is pretty easy — mostly you add final -s to the singular form (with occasional spelling modifications:  story -> stories).  Linguists refer to nouns that form their plurals with final -s as … Continue reading

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More Linguistic Asymmetries


The English prefix un- comes directly from Old English (and shares a common Indo-European root with Latin in- and Greek a-) Prefixed to an adjective A, the resulting new word means ‘not A’ and can convey either positive or negative … Continue reading

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Vamp 21: Old Friends


Fatigued and hungry for blood, Sam opens the door to her Somerville apartment and switches on a light. The others, Rina, Gil and Sandor, follow her in. “The suspense is killing me, Sam! What’s going on?” Rina cuts to the … Continue reading

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Vamp 20: Black Running Shoes


Rina, Sandor and Sam are jammed together at a small table in a loud Cambridge pub. They’d left work a few minutes early today with glum, defiant faces. Leaving early was their symbolic protest against Evan’s treatment of Gil. A … Continue reading

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Teenage, Middle-age, New Age


English can form adjectives from the past participles of verbs. Consider: break:broken  the vase was broken -> the broken vase fall:fallen   his popularity has fallen recently -> his fallen popularity bake:baked  the bread was baked in a brick oven -> … Continue reading

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