Wednesday, August 11, 2004

norma no mates
It seems I struck a nerve! I really can't tell you how it is I came to have no friends, I'm fairly outgoing - I like pubs and restaurants and even dancing; I like long walks in the countryside (as long as there's a pub at the end); live music and events; museums (especially the cider museum and I'd also like to visit this shoe museum); talking and listening... I'd make someone a good friend. Somehow though I do have real trouble connecting with people now that there's no school or college to provide an ideal environment for friendship. So I'd like some advice please how does one make friends as a grown up?

passive vocabulary, reading ages
There's an email thread doing the rounds in the editing department - essentially my manager wants to know how newspapers pitch themselves - what is the average vocabulary of an average reader? When I was teaching English we distinguished between an active vocabulary, the words we use, and a passive vocabulary, the words we understand. However, vocabulary is only part of the readability puzzle - as this rather fascinating page shows. Why is this important? Well as editors we have to make informed guesses all the time - what acronyms do our readers understand without explanation, what terms need explaining? When should we split a sentence up, and how, and when should we leave all those sub-clauses in? If we get it wrong the text becomes less readable or, worse, the reader respects it less because it - quite literally -doesn't speak their language.

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