• Speaker Series: The Prodigal Tongue, The Love-Hate Relationship between American and British English



    The Prodigal Tongue:

    The love-hate relationship between American and British English

    SATURDAY 24 AUGUST 2019, 2-4 PM


    4500 KNOX ROAD, COLLEGE PARK, MD, 20740

    Lynne Murphy is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sussex. Born and raised in New York State, she has lived in Brighton, England, since 2000. There she has acquired an English husband, an English daughter, and an alter ego: Lynneguist, author of the award-winning blog Separated by a Common Language. Her book, The Prodigal Tongue: the love–hate relationship between American and British English (Penguin 2018) is “a funny and rollicking read” (Economist Books of the Year). “Her love of our living, changing language is infectious” (The New Yorker.)

    When faced with British English, Americans are apt to be impressed and are often made a bit insecure about their own linguistic abilities. When thinking about American English, Britons often express dismissiveness or fear. This has been going on for nearly 300 years, developing into a complex mythology of British–American linguistic relations.

    This talk takes a humo(u)rful look into the current state of the “linguistic special relationship” between the two nationals. How did we get to the point that the BBC publishes headlines like “How Americanisms are killing the English language” while Americans tweet “Everything sounds better in a British accent”? We’ll look at how different the two national Englishes are (and why they’re not more different), why neither has claim to being older or better than the other, and why technology isn’t making us all speak or write the same English.

    THIS IS A FREE EVENT WITH FREE PARKING.  Parking passes are available at the door (please don’t pay for parking before getting a parking pass from us).