February 06, 2007

Prisoner of geography

A panel session on "Usage and Abusage" with Ben Yagoda, Erin McKean, and Language Log's Mark Liberman and John McWhorter? That is really quite a lineup. And the Free Library of Philadelphia has booked them for Thursday night at 7 p.m. But America is so wide: here I am in a small seaside town on the Central Coast of California, not even on the same tectonic plate as the bulk of North America, and I have to be on campus here Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. There's no way I can be in Philadelphia this week. But you could, if you live anywhere near the middle of the Atlantic seaboard. You could get to the Central Library by 7 p.m. on Thursday, especially (this is the devil tempting you) if you took the day off work. Ben Yagoda is great — very funny, and really quite erudite on language. Erin McKean was called America's lexicographical sweetheart on NPR and is the author of a whole slew of books on weird and wonderful words, including (in time for Valentine's Day) one called That's Amore!: The Language of Love for Lovers of Language. And Mark Liberman and John McWhorter, though colleagues at Language Log, have as far as I know never appeared together on the same stage. Carolyn Marvin of Penn's Annenberg School of Communication will chair the session. Go! Enjoy it! Write and tell me how it went. I wish I could go too.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at February 6, 2007 12:13 PM