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News And Events

ESU Chairman's Message

Dear Colleagues, Members & Friends of the English-Speaking Union,

I decided to delay my New Year's message to The English-Speaking Union of The United States for a number of reasons.  With the plethora of wishes and communications that flood our computers and mailboxes at the end of the year, I thought I would give you all a break, and pen something further into January, when things were quieter and more settled.  So today, on the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, I thought to send out a message.

On our entry into 2021 we find ourselves and our nation gripped in the uncertainty of a pandemic, which has not gone away, and which, by all accounts, will be with us for at least another year, in one form or another.   We are racing towards confronting half a million of our fellow citizens lost as a consequence.  I know that many ESU members have been deeply and personally impacted by this awful disease, and my heart goes out to each and every one.  We mourn many things in life, but the untimely passing of so many good and loved people is a hard cross to bear.

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Evelyn Wrench Speaker

Separated by a Common Language?
The complicated relationship between American & British English
Dr. Lynne Murphy
Thursday, January 21 at 5:00 PM (EST)

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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.

This talk looks into the current state of 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" while Americans tweet "Everything sounds better in a British accent"? The answer is in a broad set of problematic beliefs. We'll look at how different the two national Englishes are (and why they're not more different), why neither has claim to being older than the other, and why technology isn't making us all speak or write the same English.

Lynne Murphy is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. Since 2006, her alter ego Lynneguist has written the Separated by a Common Language blog. There, she reflects on UK–US linguistic differences from the perspective of an American linguist in England, while fighting the good fight against linguistic myths and prejudice. She continues that fight in The Prodigal Tongue: The Love–Hate Relationship between American English (Oneworld, 2018).

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Christmas at Windsor Castle with The Queen's Six

Monday, December 14 at 1:00 PM EST


Based at Windsor Castle, the members of The Queen's Six make up half of the Lay Clerks of St. George's Chapel, whose homes lie within the Castle walls. The Chapel Choir, which consists of boy trebles and twelve professional adult male singers, performs some eight services a week, as well as at private and state occasions, often before the Royal Family. In 2018, their duties with the Chapel Choir included singing for the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle, now The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

For this special digital program, members of The Queen's Six will be talking about their experiences as Lay Clerks and of Windsor Castle during the holidays. They will also present some of their arrangements of yuletide classics and answer your questions. Registration is free for all ESU Members and Guests!

Watch Recording Here

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Happy Thanksgiving from ESU

Happy Thanksgiving from the ESU to you! 

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Wrench Speaker: Hilary Davidson - Dress in the Age of Jane Austen

Jane Austen's novels have become synonymous with early nineteenth century fashion, especially through filmed adaptations of her work. But what did people in this period really wear? How would Austen, her family and her characters have dressed as they moved through the countryside, villages and cities of late Georgian England? This lecture explores the world of Regency clothing to bring to life the fashionable communities behind Austen's immortal words, based on years of new research in archives and museums.

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