Interview of the Week: Lynne Murphy

1.What is your favorite word of all times and why?
In English, it’s ‘reciprocity’. I love the melody of it and the balancing -ci- syllables on either side of the middle, and the meaning has to do with fairness and evenness and even generosity. (Fairness is very important to Librans like me!)

2.Which word do you always have trouble spelling?
‘cemetery’, which is embarrassing, since I was raised in a funeral home, and count three funeral directors, two gravestone cutters, and a funeral officiant among my close relatives and in-laws.

3.What was the funniest situation with a linguistic misunderstanding you ever encountered?
Not that funny, but all I can think of is that like most English-speakers who study Spanish, I have said that I was pregnant when I meant that I was embarrassed.

4.Which word is missing in your language and how would you spell it?
I think English should import the Swedish verb ‘fika‘, which means (approximately) ‘to have a social coffee break’. English and American workplaces would be much better if we fika’d every day.

5.What has Lexiophiles’s top Language Blog competition changed for you?
It’s brought a lot more translators and English-learners to my blog, which otherwise is read by lots of (often monolingual) native speakers of English.

About the author:
Lynne is an American academic linguist who has worked in a British university for ten years. In her day job, she researches and teaches about semantics (meaning), pragmatics (language in context), and child language acquisition. In the middle of the night, she uses her linguistic resources and cross-cultural experiences to blog and tweet about British and American English.

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1 thought on “Interview of the Week: Lynne Murphy”

  1. “fika”…Es gibt ein ähnliches Wort im Deutschen, nämlich “ficken”, die Bedeutung ist aber ganz anders 😉

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