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Highly Irregular-Why Tough, Through, and Dough Don’t Rhyme and Other Oddities of the English Language

May 10, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

A discussion with special guest author Arika Okrent.

Friday, May 10 at 3pm in Merrill 131 on UWM Campus

Arika is the author of Highly Irregular-Why Tough, Through, and Dough Don’t Rhyme and Other Oddities of the English Language published in 2021: English can be so illogical and frustrating. Ugh, English, why are you like this? Maybe you’ve resigned yourself to the idea that all we can do is shrug. That’s just how it it is. But there is an explanation, and this book is here to help. Highly Irregular takes on the weirdness of English with clear, playfully illustrated answers to a range of questions about its quirks. At the same time, it’s a deeper history of English and how we made it the way it is.

Arika Okrent was born in Chicago and became fascinated with languages at an early age. She flitted from language to language in school, wondering why she couldn’t just settle down and commit to one, until she finally discovered a field that would support and encourage her scandalous behavior: Linguistics. After some lengthy affairs with Hungarian (she taught in Hungary after college) and American Sign Language (she earned an M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet, the world’s only university for the Deaf), she began a Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago, where she fell hard for Psycholinguistics. She first worked in a gesture research lab, and later took up with a brain research lab, where she conducted the experiments that would earn her a degree in 2004. By that time she had begun to spend long afternoons with the languages that even linguists think they’re too good for — the artificial languages, losers like Esperanto and Klingon. Initial feelings of pity and revulsion gave way to fascination and affection, and she embarked on a whirlwind romance with the history of invented languages. The love child of this passion is her 2009 book In the Land of Invented Languages.

Read more about Arika at http://arikaokrent.com/bio/


May 10
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Merrill 311