There are some works so luminous…so powerful that they give us strength, and force us to new undertakings. A book can play this role.
Hervé Le Tellier
Happy birthday, Hervé Le Tellier! The French writer and linguist became a notable name in his home country after the publication of Les amnésiques n’ont rien vécu d’inoubliable, a collection of 1,000 short sentences that all began with “Je sense que…” (“I think that…”).
Flawed, imperfect creatures! That’s what we both are, oga! That’s what we ALL are!
Happy birthday, Nnedi Okorafor! In high school, she was a star tennis player, but surgery to correct her scoliosis derailed her hopes of becoming a pro athlete. During her lengthy recovery, she picked up writing as a replacement hobby. Today she’s an award-winning author of several adult and children’s books.
1 : the inflectional forms of a noun, pronoun, or adjective
2 : a falling off or away : deterioration
3 : descent, slope
The most common declension in modern English is the set of plural nouns marked as plural with a simple “-s.”
“You jump in and begin seeing and hearing simple words in the foreign language and start translating, learning nouns, verbs, and other parts of speech without memorizing declensions and without tears.” — Reid Kanaley, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 2 May 2016
Did You Know?
Declension came into English (via Middle French) in the first half of the 15th century, originating in the Latin verb declinare, meaning “to inflect” or “to turn aside.” The word seems to have whiled away its time in the narrow field of grammar until Shakespeare put a new sense of the word in his play Richard III in 1593: “A beauty-waning and distressed widow / … Seduc’d the pitch and height of his degree / To base declension and loath’d bigamy.” This “deterioration” sense led within a few decades to the newest sense of the word still in common use, “descent” or “slope.” The 19th century saw still another new sense of the word—meaning “a courteous refusal”—but that sense has remained quite rare.
April 1, 1816: The Prince Regent enjoyed Jane Austen’s novels, but he requested that she try her hand at a historical romance with less satirical and humorous elements. Austen was not amused. On this day, she wrote to the Prince Regent, “I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life.”