LYNNE MURPHY – American and British Politeness

Neophytes in second languages trend to think that learning a new language is like a transplant from one cluster of words to another one. We all wish that! However, what turns out to be true after a while is that not only vocabulary and grammar differ, but also the way to conceive the world and to relate with each other, including the manners.

“Whose the rudest? Wrong question”

In this video, Lynne Murphy explains us why. Even when she talks about the differences between Britain and the United States, her reflections could easily apply to the differences between Spanish and English, whether this last one refers to British English, American English or any other dialect.

I hope it helps to illustrate how complexly beautiful languages are.

LYNNE MURPHY is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics in the School of English, University of Sussex. Her research concerns what we know when we know words, and stretches to how non-linguistic knowledge and behaviour affect our use of words. Raised and educated in the US, Murphy lived in South Africa in the 1990s and has been in England since 2000. Her observations on the Englishes of these places (and the linguistics behind them) are chronicled in the blog Separated by a Common Language. Her books include Semantic Relations and the Lexicon and Lexical Meaning, both published by Cambridge University Press.

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