56 Language: Activities and Resources

Lynn Meade


There are so many helpful videos and activities that I want to share with you so I decided to create this overflow section.  Whether you are a student wanting to know more, a business person looking for insights, or a teacher looking for classroom ideas, these extra activities and resources are here for you.

Can You Say it Better?

Objective: To learn to use vivid language

  1. Students work in groups of 3-4 students.
  2. The instructor shows an object.
  3. Students describe the object: “The apple is red.”
  4. Students are challenged to create a complex and vivid description: e.g. “the apple, having just fallen with a thud, is red—painted by the heavenly hands of Mars himself.” (example from Pryor and Bulter)
  5. Students share their descriptions with other groups.
  6. Everyone discusses the benefits of vivid language and the problems associated with vivid language.
  7. Bonus level: Challenge students to describe using the major colorful language types: metaphor, simile, parallel construction, alliteration, antithesis.

Are There Words That We Should Include and Words That We Should Avoid

Words That Work: A Workshop with Frank Luntz. Standard YouTube Liscense.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbfNu6WiS0w



Want to hear some technical jargon in action, check out this video by Omnitorl Smart Infrastructures


Avoid Haigravation

Al Haig, former Secretary of State, speaks to the press about President Ronald Reagan's condition after being shot on March 30, 1981
Al Haig, former Secretary of State, speaks to the press about President Ronald Reagan’s condition after being shot on March 30, 1981. Wikimedia Commons

Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig had a unique way with words.

In a 1981 “On Language” column, William Safire of The New York Times, a veteran of the Nixon White House, called it “haigravation.”

Nouns became verbs or adverbs: “I’ll have to caveat my response, Senator.” (Caveat is Latin for “let him beware.” In English, it means “warning.” In Mr. Haig’s lexicon, it meant to say something with a warning that it might or might not be so.)

Haigspeak could be subtle: “There are nuance-al differences between Henry Kissinger and me on that.” It could be dramatic: “Some sinister force” had erased one of Mr. Nixon’s subpoenaed Watergate tapes, creating an 18 1/2- minute gap. Sometimes it was an emblem of the never-ending battle between politics and the English language: “careful caution,” “epistemologically-wise,” “saddle myself with a statistical fence.”

excerpt from Weiner, T. (2010). Alexander M. Haig Jr Dies at 85; Was a Forceful Aide to 2 Presients. the New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/us/politics/21haig.html

Need to write some educational jargon? Try this jargon generator. 

I asked my teaching friends to give me examples of jargon and they came out in force–over 120 examples. Here are my favorites.

“Let’s put a pin in that” and “Let’s put that in the parking lot”.
I do not want to consider that topic at the moment
Kent Chrisman
At first glance- this song seems to be in the key of B flat major. This means our starting pitch can be labeled as solfege syllable Do and/or Bb. The relative minor for this key is G minor. If the song starts on a G or La of Bb major then that might be a clue to the fact that this piece was not major, but written in the minor key. This would also mean that the third scale degree in the G minor scale is altered and brought down a half step- changing Mi to Me.
The song sounds sad so it is considered “minor” Kate Wilding Ashman
That first foot is a trochee, but then around the midline shift there’s an anapest
The rhythm of this line of poetry starts with a strong beat, and then there’s a triplet in the middle.
AKA- There’s some jazzy beats in this poem! Sara Becker

In strategic, human-centered website design we utilize Hobson’s Choice, affordance, and correlational theory as conversion optimization tactics.


Limited visual cues make people click things.
Lydia Kitts

The college paper is a white-supremacist construct, necessitating the pedagogical adoption of antiracist means of authentic assessment that honor students’ own lived experiences and competencies. Likewise, asking students to read research articles, regardless of their own background and situation, can be construed as a racist practice. Antiracist pedagogy would involve the principles of Universal Design, including multiple means of representation and multiple means of expression.

Show a video, have kids make a TikTok or a meme about how they feel about it, pat self on back for being a White Ally ™.
Ken Mondschein
Ontologically speaking, Foucault offers little alternative to our disciplinary state. It is arguable that neoliberalism has foreclosed any reasonable way out of our well-disciplined bodies, as the discursive practices of neoliberalism appropriate all attempts at rupture as intelligible through, and part of, the logic of capitalism. Although praxis is not the primary concern of Foucault, where are we to go in a world where ontology takes a back seat to epistemology? A theory of resistance must offer more than a genealogy or a deconstruction of power carte blanche. Foucault does not provide guidance for how to act in real life, even though his work is important (and fun) to know.
Toni Nielson

WOTC just changed the rules of Magic so that when you cascade into a modal double-faced card, and only one face costs less than the cascade spell, you can only cast that face and not the other. Players in Modern had been using Ardent Plea and Violent Outburst to cascade into Valki and get Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor for just three mana. The resulting Cascade Valki deck was actually better than the similar Tibalt’s Trickery combo, partly because that combo requires you to play a deck of almost all lands. The rules change kills the Cascade Valki deck, and also makes modal DFCs interact with cascade the same way split cards do.

In short, they changed the rules of the game so players couldn’t use an unfair strategy to get more than they were paying for.
Aaron Kashtan
In the fourth quarter, the 49ers converted a 4th and 4 on a 40-yard touchdown pass from their fourth-string quarterback to the fourth wide receiver. It was their fourth touchdown of the game and put them ahead 40 to 14. The 49ers went on to win, extending their four-game winning streak and putting them in fourth place in the playoff standings.

Gaffer says gel the redhead, kill the baby and strike the moles. When you’re done tell the Best Boy you’re 10-100 and swing by Crafty for some Teamsters Treats.

The person in charge of lighting wants you to change the color of the main light, turn off the small light, and pack away the light made by the Mole Richardson company.
After you have finished, tell the second-in-command of the lighting department that you are going on a bathroom break. On your way back, pass by Craft Services, where the snacks are, and grab some doughnuts.
Joshua Mims

Watch this video that overviews Doublespeak.


(2019). Double Speak: How to lie without lying. What I’ve Learned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP07oyFTRXc

Using Humor in Speech

CBS Sunday Morning.  (20104). Ronald Reagan’s one-liners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA7sP47e8tA



Micciche, T., Pryor, B., & Butler, J. (2000). A Test of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence for Its Effects on Ratings of Message Organization and Attitude Change. Psychological Reports86(3_part_2), 1135–1138. https://doi.org/10.1177/003329410008600311.2



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