Cafe Sci: How America saved the English Language

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Lynne Murphy
Professor of Linguistics, University of Sussex

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.
The problem with a mythology is that most of it is myth.
This talk looks into the “special relationship” between the two national standards. How did we get to the point that the BBC publishes headlines like “How Americanisms are killing the English language” when the fact of the matter is that in many ways America has saved the English language?

MEETING FORMAT: Our speaker talks, uninterrupted for 20 minutes, to introduce their topic. During a break to get drinks, the Hat goes round. Then there is an hour’s chaired question and answer session. Cafe Sci is funded by the Hat (no sponsors). We suggest a contribution £2 (waged or good pension) or £1 (unwaged). Full details here (