Dear diary . . . What’s the word for the qualities that make your writing unique?

Diary Science magazine recently released a study on the effects of diary writing for college and high school students. The results showed that students experiencing test anxiety and who wrote about their disquiet in a diary right before the exam performed better on the test by half a grade.

Dictionaries and diaries are old friends; what better way to learn new words than expressing your thoughts in writing? We welcome this bit of educational news as an excuse to talk about the precise origin of “diary” and some of its history.

Diary comes from the Latin word diarium. You’ll recognize the first part of that word as di-, “day” in modern English. The suffix “-arium” and it’s more modern equivalent “-ary” show up in many words you use every day: library, stationary, revolutionary. If you haven’t guessed already, the suffix means “in connection with or pertaining to.” A diary is just that, a daily log that records the events that happened over the course of the day. The playwright Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, was the original shortener of diarium to diary. The word first appeared in 1605 in his play Volpone.

Diaries differ from journals in that they are updated daily. In the modern use of the word, a diary is of a private nature, often written for an audience of one. Recently, diaries have moved online as web logs or blogs. These differ from the personal, handwritten sort of diary by aiming for a large audience. The linguistic qualities that make a person’s writing and speech unique are their idiolect. A diary is a sort of gym for the idiolect.

Do you keep a diary? Have you found it a useful remedy to test anxiety? Tell us what you think.


WWD April 16, 2002 | Weil, Jennifer; Costello, Brid PARIS — Sniffing at ongoing rumors of acquisitions, Sephora is putting its nose to the grindstone and expanding its franchise Europe-wide, with a new, more detailed action plan.

“I think Sephora boasts a good recovery potential,” said Jacques-Franck Dossin, a luxury goods analyst at Goldman Sachs in London. “I think it can really improve its performance and profitability.” Most analysts have been happy with the way Sephora’s strategy is shaping up so far under Serge Brunschwig, president and chief executive officer of Sephora Europe. He took the helm of the 393-door, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned chain in March 2001, has been vocal about plans to bring the company’s operating margin to 8 to 10 percent in 2004, versus the current 1 to 3 percent today. go to website sephora coupon code

How will it be done? He’s put together a multistep approach, including:

Opening 23 new stores in Europe — including three in the Czech Republic and four in France — in 2002 and closing two doors. Last year, Sephora opened 27 and closed 24.

Concentrating on six regions where “we identified good potential,” said Brunschwig. Among them are France, Italy, Spain-Portugal, Eastern Europe, Greece and the U.K.

Renovating some stores. Already, in 10 revamped doors, Sephora has seen a 7 percent increase in the average transaction.

Removing some products. Sephora closed 2001 with 12,000 stockkeeping units, after eliminating 3,000 sku’s. It expects to jettison another 2,000 sku’s and end 2002 with 10,000.

Reorganizing its logistics and its stores. “We are making the supply chain more efficient,” explained Brunschwig. This includes packing stock alphabetically so it can be quickly arranged on alphabetized shelves. Staff can then spend twice as much time with consumers.

Further developing Sephora’s private label line, which currently represents 7 to 8 percent of the company’s sales. The first Sephora fragrance is due out in September. sephoracouponcodenow.com sephora coupon code

Further, “in Europe, Sephora can increase profitability from a rather low level by better integrating the acquisitions it made over the past few years,” said Dossin. This, in part, includes having more Sephora-owned stores adopt the Sephora name and combining logistics and supply chains, coupled with a tourism recovery at the key Champs-Elysees store.

“What they are doing in the U.S. is significantly curtailing investments, getting more brands into the stores, cutting costs and being more regionally focused,” he continued, adding that as a result they have seen a 20 percent rise in comparative-store sales there.

“Globally, I think the best thing Sephora can do is to be a bit more oriented toward customer service,” said another analyst, who requested anonymity. But she said that the firm’s expansion plan is reasonable, particularly if new stores are in large towns.

As for its push into Eastern Europe, where it has 29 stores in Poland and three in Romania, she said: “It is a good thing if they don’t do it too fast.” “Sephora is entering very promising markets, where margins are quite large,” said another analyst. “[Eastern Europe] is a virgin, underdeveloped market, which could provide strong growth in the medium term.” But will LVMH hold on to Sephora until then? The jury’s still out. While some say the perfumery chain’s spring cleaning preempts a sale, others think that if there’s a turnaround at Sephora, LVMH might just keep the chain.

Weil, Jennifer; Costello, Brid


States News Service December 22, 2011 Oxford, Ohio — The following information was released by Miami University – Oxford:

Kathleen Johnson, associate professor of English, was awarded the 2011 E. Phillips Knox Teaching Award at Miami University’s fall commencement Dec. 16. site creative writing prompts

Established by Miami alumnus E. Philips Knox, a 1968 graduate, the award recognizes creative, innovative and engaging teaching methods at the undergraduate level. Miami’s Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and University Assessment selected Johnson for the honor.

A member of Miami’s faculty since 1996, Johnson has taught a variety of courses in multiple departments and programs, including English, the Western program, film studies, and women studies.

According to Kerry Powell, professor and chair of the English department, “Katie’s work takes place both inside and outside the classroom, and it is marked by innovation, direct and individualized engagement of students with course content, and an emphasis on critical and contextual learning.” Johnson describes her classrooms as “performative” and “innovative.” She does not simply invert the classroom to make it student-centered. Her classroom “becomes a dynamic space in which knowledge is actively performed, analyzed and re-forged.” In addition, Johnson includes intensive writing in her courses using traditional assignments, as well as creative writing prompts, such as role-play activities, debates, and playwriting. Her approaches generate excitement among students who she explains become “invested;” thus, making for a dynamic learning experience. go to site creative writing prompts

Johnson has taught and designed more than 30 different courses and mentored undergraduate students on individualized research projects – nearly 50 students altogether. Her rigorous approach to one-on-one instruction includes close reading and revision of drafts and weekly meetings with each independent-study student. The result – undergraduate students creating work at the master’s degree level.

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