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'The Prodigal Tongue:' A Discussion With Linguist Lynne Murphy

The Prodigal Tongue book cover

Which is better? British English or American English? Does it depend entirely upon where you’re living or where you’re from or whatever your ears prefer?

Regardless, there is a difference between the two, and though that isn’t necessarily growing or becoming more contentious, there is still a battle among some.

Linguist Lynne Murphy covers a lot of that — including what she calls the "American Verbal Inferiority Complex" and the "British Verbal Superiority Complex" — in her new book, "The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English." Murphy grew up in the United States but is now a professor of Linguistics in England.

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.