10th blogiversary

Happy 10th blogiversary to me! (The internet tells me it's spel{led/t} with one 'g'.)

I hope that it also counts as 10 happy years of Separated by a Common Language for you!

It has been and continues to be an fantastic ride.  The highlights for me have been:
  • the readers and commenters. Really, it's been amazing to me how wonderful people can be on the web. You hear bad things all the time about social media, but (AmE) knock/(BrE) touch wood my experiences with it have generally been fabulous. I wrote last year with some emotion about how touched and hono(u)red I am by the generosity of spirit in the comments section. I am.
  • coming to reali{s/z}e how little I knew at the start of the blog (and how little I probably know now). At that point, I'd been teaching linguistics for 15 years, lived in the UK for over six years and before that I'd lived in South Africa for four. I thought I knew a lot about English. Man, I'd just started to get acquainted with the language. And while I now feel like I'm bursting with knowledge about English, the great thing about knowledge is that you can always fit in more.
  • the heaps of opportunities that the blog has opened up for me. The media stuff, the camaraderie with other 'public linguists', the new research lines and collaborations, the funding, the book-in-progress. Oh my goodness. If I weren't superstitious about making public statements about how fantastic my life presently is, I'd be making one. 
I won't try to pick my favo(u)rite blog posts from the past 10 years, since such decisions can be painful. But my favourite ones to write and reflect upon are the ones about really fine semantic differences (usually involving food) and ones about the ins and outs of interaction (try the politeness tag for some of those).

The most visited (though the figures are only from 2010-2016, when I started using Google Analytics) are:

22 Jul 2012, 38 comments

21 May 2011, 56 comments


19 Jul 2010, 76 comments

18 Aug 2012, 208 comments

20 Apr 2009, 47 comments

14 Aug 2008, 90 comments

17 Mar 2007, 54 comments

11 Jun 2011, 61 comments

Do any of you have a favo(u)rite post that you think should have made the list? (I suspect the bed sizes one is so popular because companies selling linens are always trying to spam it.)

Thank you, readers, for keeping me going and also for nominating me again for bab.la Top Language Lover awards. Should you want to vote for me (or anyone else for that matter!), here are the relevant links:
Language Professional Blogs category (Separated by a Common Language) 
Twitter category (Lynne Murphy) 

Warning: like Lynneukah, this blogiversary may last days.


  1. Huzzah! And thank you for everything!

  2. I was introduced to your blog a few short months ago and have immensely enjoyed it. I hope that you will continue for as long as it gives you joy.

  3. Congratulations! Looking forward to the next ten. I'm always fascinated by differences I wasn't aware of, e.g. uses of 'Please'. Hope the blogiversary does last days! B--)

  4. Congratulations, Lynne. Not only on your success but also on your perseverance. Not sure I've ever spent 10 years doing any one thing -- except being married.

    BTW: I can't remember when I first came to your site, but it was definitely long after your post about whoa and woah.

    My thoroughly unscientific opinion is that this difference is primarily generational -- people 30 and younger tend to go with woah and those over 40 with whoa. (Not sure where people 30 to 40 fall.) I'm speaking about Americans here, though this generational divide in usage may well exist in the UK, too.

    Have you ever done a post on the difference between yeah and yea? I have a brother-in-law who's 20 years my senior and who uses yea, which bugs the s**t out of me. My suspicion is that the divide between yeah users and yea users is also generational, but my brother-in-law tends to spoil that proposition -- unless, as I prefer to believe, he's an outlier.

    Anyway, thank you for your dedication to explicating and celebrating our two great dialects. Keep up the good work!

  5. Congratulations, I've been loving your blog for the second half of the time you've been at it. Thought that baked goods might have made the top ten!

  6. Congratulations! And lots more posts to come, I hope. I think for me the highlight has to have been the birth of your daughter - now, of course, a lively schoolgirl (is she in the Juniors yet?) - and the various linguistic discoveries you made along the way.....

  7. Congratulations Lynne! As a recent reader from Australia who is an ardent language pedant, your posts are fantastic to read.

    I especially enjoy seeing the mix of terms that Australians have picked up from their colonial parent and their American cousins.

    If you are interested, we definitely have a much bigger slant toward BrE.

    Keep up the great work!


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  9. I have loved this blog since I first discovered it - well before the birth of Grover - and I occasionally read the 'back numbers' to catch up on old comments.
    I am currently sitting in Batumi, close to the border between Georgia and Turkey, where I am very grateful to be a native speaker of the de facto lingua franca (! Excuse me, how else could I say that?) Waiters and museum guides cope well with a 'core' vocabulary as tourists here may speak Russian, Turkish, German, Australian ...... What should that core contain? What are the essential concepts and how can we be sure that we are not misunderstood in daily transactions?
    Lynne, I am sure you will continue to find grist for this mill, let alone the Twitter account, to which I am a stranger. I wish you many more more years of happy blogging!

  10. Congratulations! Very much enjoy dipping into your blog and following your Twitter feed. So I hope that you or one of your colleagues can shed light on the following.
    This morning's Desert Island Disc's introduced "the first woman vice-chancellor of Oxford University". This got me thinking. Why 'woman' when 'man' wouldn't fit in the same phrase? For a man, wouldn't we say "male vice-chancellor"? "Female vice-chancellor" also sounds OK, but "man vice-chancellor" doesn't. Why, oh why, oh why?!

  11. Redge: I'm quoted on that topic in this New Republic article.

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words.

  12. I just got back from my first visit to the UK, a two week vacation in England (never made it to Scotland/Wales/etc). So I think the post I would have liked to see in the top 10 is the "talking about streets, roads, etc. " one. It certainly prepared me to look for street names in strange places. Despite that, I still failed much of the time. :) (Thank goodness for Google maps on the cell phone, or I would have been hopelessly lost several times. Or more likely just once--and never found again.)

    Congratulation on 10 years and going strong!

  13. Hi,

    This is my favourite place and you're always very helpful. Thank you so much!
    I'm non-native, something of a language nutter, yes I make hundreds of grammar errors but I absolutely love the blog and the comments.
    I didn't plan to use English every day but one day I met a wonderful Brit.. And today he says I perfectly fake the accent but I'm a complete rubbish at grammar. Well you never know when these Brits are joking right? :)
    All the best

  14. Congrats and many more equally fascinating posts to come! I think the politeness area is one of the most interesting. I've referred to your TED Talk in conversation to many friends, American, British and otherwise.

  15. puttering thru Google looking for blogaversary.
    From South Africa mine is seven.

    We have a Swiss bed and have to hunt for what South African shops call 'Queen Extra Length'

  16. Congratulations Lynne on 10 years. I haven't posted many comments on the site but I did send you the question about "do you have" etc so it's nice to see it on the list.

  17. Congratulations. This blog is a real shining star, that not only continually educates, enlightens, and entertains, but is also one of my favorite examples of something that could only exist on the web. Perhaps there may have been some small publication somewhere that might run a periodic column entitled "Separated By a Common Language", but it would probably be out of business long before 10 years was up, and the readership would be tiny and feedback limited if present at all. The combination of Lynne's insights and knowledge with readers' comments just takes it to whole new level, and hopefully the fact that she doesn't have publication deadlines for the blog will leave her feeling motivated to keep going for another decade!

    Thanks Lynne.

  18. In all conscience, I can't vote for your Twitter feed, Lynne, as I hardly ever read it — and then have nothing to compare it with. But your Blog has got my whole-hearted and informed vote.

    All the nice things have already been said. I'll second them, and add this:

    Your blog is full of nice and enquiring people being nice to each to each other and enquiring of each other. This is not true everywhere on the web. I think you should justly accept the credit for the concept, format and tone which makes it so informative and........well, nice.

  19. David, you get a lot of credit for that too--as do the other commenters above. Nice to read this when I am getting a higher-than-normal number of angry comments. Alas!

  20. I love your blog! I normally never comment, but I do await each new post with anticipation. Thanks for keeping nerds of the English language entertained.

  21. Hi, just to tell you it's my favourite blog.

    I dare say im the only person who has read literally every article, like from A to Z, arent I?



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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)