April 25th, 2018


The Prodigal Tongue

I've been reading Lynne Murphy's Separated by a Common Language blog for years, and I happened to see on twitter that she was giving a talk at CU-Boulder on Monday of last week. It was pretty lucky -- I'm not on twitter all that often, and it was only mentioned the day before. It was late enough in the afternoon not to totally disrupt my workday, so I decided that I would bail out early from work and go, what the heck.

I had figured out the previous week while attending a CWA talk that rather than trying to find parking on/near campus (which can be pretty awful), the easy thing to do is park at the shopping center at the bottom of the hill and just catch a bus, since I have a bus pass and they come every ten minutes or so along Broadway. So I did that, and managed to just barely miss the Skip. But happily, a lady who was waiting at the light saw me running for the bus and being ignored by the driver and pulled over to offer me a ride! So that was nice. And I actually got to my destination about thirty seconds before the bus did. Thanks, kind stranger!

The talk was at 4 and I had a conference call (video chat via skype) scheduled at 3, so I brought my laptop with me. I knew I'd have wifi (thanks, eduroam), so I just needed a place to take the call. I was prepared to find a quiet spot outdoors, but I figured if I went to the Linguistics department offices and asked nicely, they might have an unused conference room of some kind that I could make use of. And they did! So that was nice, also.

The talk was a lot of fun. Prof. Murphy has written a book -- The Prodigal Tongue -- about the love-hate relationship between American English and British English, and she talked about the main ideas in the book. Some of it was familiar from reading her blog, but she's an entertaining speaker, so it was well worth the time. The Linguistics department had some copies of her book available for purchase after the talk, and happily, I had happened to grab some cash that morning (which I don't normally do), and had just enough to buy one and get it signed! So that was especially nice.

Anyway, the whole episode was weirdly lucky, and I got a good book out of it. Yay!