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LinguaPhile, June 2003

A monthly e-mail newsletter nurturing the development and enjoyment of English language arts at home and at school.


LinguaPhile Now Sent from

This is the first issue of LinguaPhile being sent from the GrammarAndMore website. The address (in case you need to put it into your address book so that the newsletter will not be filtered out) is (a slight change from the address given last month). Hosting the newsletter on GrammarAndMore will allow closer management of the list and will eliminate the advertising.

GrammarAndMore will not share your e-mail address with anyone.

If you know people who would enjoy LinguaPhile but were hesitant to register at Yahoo! Groups, please let them know that they can now subscribe at

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Hands-On English Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary

It was just five years ago that the first copies of Hands-On English rolled off the presses and made their debut at the CHEF conference in St. Louis. What an adventure those five years have been! I have traveled tens of thousands of miles and have met thousands of people, some of whom I now count as dear friends. On several occasions new customers have told me that Hands-On English was an answer to prayer.

Hands-On English is in all fifty states and on six continents. Subscribers to LinguaPhile and Acu-Write reside in Brazil, New Zealand, the Ukraine, India, and many other countries. Hands-On English is used by gifted students and struggling students -- and by adults who are not formal students at all. Some of them are learning English as an additional language. Hands-On English is used in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, home schools, colleges, adult education programs, offices, hospitals, prisons, libraries, no doubt in other places of which I'm not even aware. Many teachers and home educators have told me that Hands-On English is the clearest English book they've found.

I thank you for the part you have played in the success that Hands-On English has experienced so far. We all know, however, that the need for clear, concise English materials is great. Please help us celebrate our fifth anniversary by sharing this newsletter with anyone who might enjoy it -- and by spreading the word about Hands-On English products to anyone who might benefit from them.

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Upcoming Exhibits: Des Moines and St. Louis

Conferences are a great place to
 • get a firsthand look at Hands-On English products
 • introduce your colleagues to Hands-On English products
 • give feedback on products you're using (including suggestions!)
 • get your questions answered
 • avoid shipping costs on Hands-On English purchases

If you will be attending either of the following conferences, be sure to stop by the Portico Books booth to say hello to Fran. Take your friends along!

 • June 13-14: Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE), Des Moines. Fran will present a workshop about Hands-On English Friday from 5:30 to 6:15.

 • June 25-26: Christian Home Educators Fellowship (CHEF), St. Louis.

Becoming familiar with Hands-On English products on the website can provide a good background for seeing the products in person:

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Father's Day Writing Ideas

For a number of writing suggestions for Father's Day, see the June 2002 LinguaPhile:

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Celebrate Bloomsday

June 16, 1904, is the day detailed and immortalized in James Joyce's revolutionary stream-of-consciousness novel, Ulysses. For more on James Joyce and his work (and other sites that commemorate this anniversary) see the June 2001 LinguaPhile:

Note that next year will mark the centennial of Bloomsday. Begin planning something extra special.

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Family Fun in St. Louis

St. Louis, home of Portico Books, is a great place for family entertainment. Not only are there a lot of things to do, but many of them are FREE! Whether you live in St. Louis and want an outing of a few hours, or live hundreds of miles away and are planning a week-long vacation, keep these entertainment spots in mind (* indicates free admission):

St. Louis City (beginning downtown and generally moving west):

  • Riverboat Cruises
  • *Gateway Arch and Museum of Westward Expansion (Be sure to see the film about building the Arch. There is a fee for riding to the top, but it is a memorable experience, especially on a clear day.)
  • Busch Stadium and St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum
  • Eugene Field House, housing the St. Louis Toy Museum
  • *Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour
  • The City Museum ("Museum" is too stodgy a name for this creative center that includes art from recycled materials, artists at work, offbeat collections, circus shows, and indoor playgrounds. For kids of all ages.)
  • *St. Louis Cathedral (Sometimes called the "New Cathedral," as opposed to the "Old Cathedral," which is on the riverfront, this is not to be missed! It houses the largest collection of mosaics in the world. Your mouth will drop open when you first walk in.)
  • *Forest Park
    • *St. Louis Zoo (one of the best in the country)
    • *St. Louis Science Center (including an Omnimax Theater, where admission is charged)
    • *Missouri History Museum (recently expanded)
    • *St. Louis Art Museum
    • *Jewel Box (greenhouse)
    • Muny Opera (America's largest and oldest outdoor theater, where well-known musicals are performed. Nearly 1500 seats at the back of the amphitheater are free.)

St. Louis County (generally increasing in distance from St. Louis City):

  • The Magic House (hands-on learning experiences in a creative environment; consistently included in lists of the best children's museums in the country)
  • Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Opera isn't for everyone, but these are extremely well done and are performed in English. In May and June only.)
  • *Holocaust Museum (recommended for 6th grade and older)
  • *Prologue Room (museum of U.S. aviation history, including large models of aircraft and a 1/4-scale model of Air Force One)
  • *Laumeier Sculpture Park
  • Dog Museum (in Queeny Park)
  • *Greensfelder Recreation Complex (Also in Queeny Park, this includes an exceptional playground area.)
  • Museum of Transportation (according to the Smithsonian Institution, "one of the largest and best collections of transportation vehicles in the world"; the most complete collection of American rail power anywhere)
  • Butterfly House (in Faust Park, which also has an operating carousel)
  • Worldways Children's Museum (especially for children ages 4-11; provides opportunity to explore the culture and daily life of people in China, Senegal, the Philippines, and Mexico)
  • *Grant's Farm (a wildlife preserve operated by Anheuser-Busch on land once owned and farmed by Ulysses S. Grant; home of the world-famous Clydesdale horses)
  • *Lone Elk Park (wildlife refuge area)

A little farther, but worth the trip (times and distances are approximate from downtown St. Louis):

  • *Cahokia Mounds (includes the largest Indian mound in North America and a museum about the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico, whose population between A.D. 1100 and 1200 probably numbered around 20,000. This is west of Collinsville, Illinois, about 1/2 hour from downtown St. Louis; it is not in Cahokia, however.)
  • Meramec Caverns (largest single cave formation in the world; about 1 hour southwest on I-44)
  • *Elephant Rocks State Park / Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park (giant granite rock formations; about 90 miles south)
  • Hannibal (boyhood home of Mark Twain; about 100 miles northwest on the Mississippi River)

*Fair St. Louis is one of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the country. It is held at the riverfront, this year on July 3, 4, and 5. There are many activities, including concerts by big-name entertainers, and it's all FREE!

A great guidebook is A Parent's Guide to St. Louis by Julie Douglas. The book provides a brief description of each attraction, plus location, hours, cost, phone, and website. In addition, it includes information about places to eat, places to stay, and special events.
Available from A Parent's Guide to St. Louis

I was unable to find a comprehensive site that provides links to most of the attractions mentioned above. You are likely to easily find information through Internet searches, however. CitySpin is an interesting site since it provides links to some of the attractions above -- and provides similar information about dozens of other cities in the United States:

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Quote of the Month: Education

"Education would be so much more effective if its purpose were to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they don't know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it."
--Sir William Haley, English journalist (1901-1987)

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Expand Your Vocabulary: lipogram

A lipogram is a composition in which an author consciously avoids using a unit or two -- A, B, C, or so on. Usually a lipogram is fairly short -- such as this paragraph. Occasionally, though, such a composition lacking that familiar fifth unit has run to 50,000 words! This constraint is akin to working out with six-pound blocks; it calls for an author to find uncommon words or ways of saying things, and it builds agility with words. A lipogram is contrary to a pangram, in which an author will try utilizing all units with minimal duplication.*

*I hope you noticed that the preceding paragraph was the most challenging of lipograms, one that omitted the letter e.

Hands-On English includes nearly 200 morphemes, along with their meanings and examples. Knowing the meanings of morphemes can help you unlock hundreds of words the first time you encounter them. Reviewers of Hands-On English have said that the vocabulary section alone is worth the book's modest purchase price. Learn more -- and place your order -- at

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Q and A: Plurals and Possessives of Names

Today we have a couple of questions regarding the plural and possessive forms of names, specifically names that end in a sibilant.

Question: How do you form the plural of Martinez? Is it simply
Martinez'? Or is it Martinezes or even Martinezs?

Answer: The plural would be Martinezes. An apostrophe is not used in forming the plurals of words or names. Rules governing the pluralization of names are actually simpler than rules governing the pluralization of words. Most names form their plural simply by adding s. Names that end in s, z, x, ch, or sh form their plural by adding es; the extra syllable that the e provides is necessary to make the name pronounceable.

Question: What is the correct possessive form of Felix?

Answer: The correct form is Felix's. With a few rare exceptions, names -- or other nouns -- that end in a letter other than s form their possessive by adding 's.

Hands-On English will put a wealth of information at your fingertips so that you can quickly find what you need to know about grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and more. Get details -- and place your order -- at

We invite your questions for this feature:

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Experiment Involving Order of Adjectives

Have you ever heard someone -- perhaps someone learning English as a second language -- put adjectives in an unconventional sequence (saying something like "brown small dog," for example)? Examining this phenomenon can help us recognize features of our language of which we are unaware.

Try this experiment: Place these seven adjectives in the order that seems best to you in the following sentence:

The adjectives: old  riding  ugly  Mexican  big  leather  red

The sentence: She wore ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ boots.

True, it is generally undesirable to use more than two or three adjectives in sequence. However, this is for the purpose of pointing out something that native speakers intuitively recognize about sequencing adjectives.

When you have decided on the sequence that seems best to you, read the continuation of this article below the book review.

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Review: Using the Internet in Your Homeschool by Cindy Prechtel

Don't dismiss this book just because you are not a homeschooler! It would be a great resource for classroom teachers, for parents, and for lifelong learners of any age.

Author Cindy Prechtel has compiled a wealth of information during her five years as a homeschooler. She briefly describes about a thousand websites, most of which provide free content. These sites can supplement -- or even replace -- your current curricula. Cindy recognizes, however, that people have their own preferences, so she leaves space for you to make your own notes about sites that appeal to you.

Cindy has organized the sites effectively, including an introduction about the Internet, general information about homeschooling, lesson plans, unit studies, preschool, curricular areas, electives (such as music, art, and foreign language), and Bible and character education. In addition, she lists sites that offer instruction in typing, study skills, and test preparation (for college admission tests). Some sites are primarily for reference, and others are primarily for educational fun. Cindy also indicates which grade levels various sites target.

Cindy sells just the "guts" of the book in a loose-leaf format for $24.00 (including shipping). You would need to supply your own binder. Purchase of the book entitles you to free quarterly updates for a minimum of two years.

It seems that the best way to show the value of the book is to introduce you to a few of the recommended sites (most of these annotations are mine, not Cindy's):

Children Who Write (an opportunity for children to see the writing of other children -- and to publish on the Internet):

Writing Prompts (Cindy says this is the most exhaustive free list of writing prompts she has seen):

Bible-Based Spelling Lessons (Grades 1-4):

Virtual Field Trips (explore the world without leaving home):

Home Education Loan Program (HELP) (provides students and educators with up-to-date alternatives to classroom animal dissection and live animal experimentation; available for the cost of return postage):

World Atlas (all kinds of information about countries -- plus weekly quizzes):

Believe me, this is only a tiny sampling of what this book has to offer! It is an incredible value. To order, go to . Cindy offers other products for sale -- and a free e-mail newsletter.

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Experiment Involving Order of Adjectives (Continued)

I tried this experiment with the six students in my adult ed class (admittedly a small sample). All of the students put the same adjectives in positions 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7. They split 3 and 3 on which adjective should come second and which third.

This is the usual sequence for adjectives: size, age, opinion, color, material, origin, and purpose. Following this sequence would produce this sentence: She wore big, old, ugly red leather Mexican riding boots.

How did you do? Did you put the adjectives in conventional order?

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Puzzler: Homophones

Do you know the difference between a homonym and a homophone? Both are words with identical pronunciations. The first meaning of homonym, though, indicates words that are not only pronounced the same but spelled the same as well; they just have different meanings. Run, for example, is a homonym with many eanings. A homophone is a word that is like another in pronunciation but not in spelling or meaning. Ate and eight, for instance, are homophones. (A secondary meaning of homonym is "homophone.")

Each of the following phrases could be paraphrased as a pair of homophones, the first an adjective (of sorts) and the second a noun. For example, "a grizzly without clothing" could be a "bare bear." An effort has been made to use some of the less common homophones.

1. rabbit fur
2. tired vegetable
3. path taken by the underground part of a plant
4. spot occupied by a company's lowest-performing salesperson
5. central body
6. spooky lake or canal
7. strange marketplace
8. scorched greens

Answers next month.

Answers to May Puzzler

 1. cook _____ case [book; (cookbook, bookcase)]
 2. space _____ mate [ship]
 3. cow _____ scout [boy or girl]
 4. foot _____ point [ball]
 5. front _____ backer [line]
 6. sweet _____ brush [tooth]
 7. skeleton _____ note [key]
 8. tooth _____ ax [pick]
 9. open _____ tight [air]
10. red _____ dog [hot]

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Thank you for reading. If you find LinguaPhile helpful and interesting, don't keep it a secret! Consider which of your friends would also enjoy it, and send them information aboutsubscribing. Those receiving this forwarded message can subscribe at . People who have e-mail but do not have Internet access can subscribe by clicking on this link and requesting to subscribe: .

The index to LinguaPhile, which is updated monthly, is now available in either a text or .doc format on the GrammarAndMore Web site:
This makes the information from previous issues readily accessible. You are encouraged to print the index for your convenience or to share it with friends. Why not send them the URL of the text version?
It's a gift you can give, yet still have for yourself!

© 2003 Fran Santoro Hamilton


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