Sociolinguistics in Practice: Oxford Talk, Part Two

Anthony Burgess’s “A Clockwork Orange” (1962), with its intuitive vocabulary, has inspired me to document my linguistic environments. I will write about a different setting each week without explaining any vocabulary used. I hope readers will gradually learn what these words mean as they read on and notice if I insert a word that does not belong. Through this, I will explore belonging: does knowing the words of an environment help increase belonging, even if one has never been in the environment themselves? 

And again, I walk into the kitchen and get “hiya” and “you’re alright” but is it a question or a statement, how do I respond? Our lovely scout and George say that the most so I ask George and he says it’s not really either. So I don’t use it because I don’t get it. That’s morning but it’s a Thursday and I have my tute on Friday with Sally but gosh I haven’t read Under Western Eyes yet but at least I read the secondary readings hmm it’s almost like I haven’t managed my time and the reading lists are too long and this week is just my primary tutorial but I didn’t do all the reading oh no. I flee into Christchurch Meadows into the gate that goes by the Botanical Garden on High Street down to College. Go to the pidge room and check my pidge but the Porters aren’t masked and no mail lonely and then it’s lunch so I watch for Simpkins the cutie in the marquee. Pop off as they say into the library get what I requested on SOLO for my secondary tute. I got my takeaway and there’s rocket and cutlery and crisps and and and how many pounds is this? No Simpkins so I leave but hope tomorrow has steak pie and as I leave I see the Bod and the bridge our bridge. I go onto Broad street and think of Hassan’s and escape onto Cornmarket into Boots and see a queue for Pret because of the subscription scheme. Should I walk down to Westgate into Sainsbury’s? I could get more wine gums and Cadbury’s or British milk not Wisconsin milk. I stop and get the paper because it’s historic I’m here in a historical moment oh why can’t I do my work? Back on St Aldate’s and away from City Centre past historical buildings historical time and back past Christchurch with the Porters in the face shields no masks and oh yes no one is wearing a mask but me. Right. Should I go down past Folly bridge and the Grad Centre or quarantine room before Abingdon house and all the way to Sally’s boat? No, that’s tomorrow. Gosh that’s right. Back to my accommodation Mary Warnock not Geoffrey Warnock and heater on to 80 degrees I think Fahrenheit but I don’t remember but it wouldn’t make sense as Celsius but who knows, not me George Ben or Polly. Hand sanitizer hang up mask hide phone sit. Try to work. Uh I guess I’ll write about this with this, yeah. I like Conrad’s background yeah and Maya Jasanoff is so cool. Type type type check Oxlove Oxfess message boyfriend who’s peng as they say. Everyone is finally up! I make peppermint tea but still don’t know how to use the kettle so I use the microwave. Ben’s watching football as they say and they lost so he’s gutted as they say and takes the Hoover as they say and I see the sign now says please take advantage of the alcohol … sanitizer is now gone. Reminds me that the Brits don’t have fraternities they have secret drinking societies but those are problematic and only the Tory posh kids at Christchurch or St John’s still have them but shhh they’re the wealthy schools. Hertford again is cool except for second floor but they’re Ben’s mates as they say so I have to be quiet when I use my 11-digit new number on my new pay-as-you-go vodafone to call the welfare deans oops. Now it’s midnight my time 6 p.m. home time or home time their time? But need my mill ear plugs to drown out the endless drunk karaoke, endless Arctic Monkeys over and over 2 a.m. still no essay done. Stress dream up early turn it in from to Sally down the Thames Path run run run almost 20 minutes past the rowers and the bikes and the horses with shirts and then the swans. I made it to the narrowboat and in. It ended up being a good tute. Some black tea and milk, good biscuits, dark chocolate with peppermint. I feel relaxed. I leave, and I am done. Until the cramming for both tutes and the EFL Bod Rad Cam Gladstone Link RAI circuit again. But first, date night on WhatsApp, English breakfast no beans with an exhausted viewing of The Crown, walks, and gentle work. What a historical time it is and I am probably not doing this all right but hey, this is unprecented … I’m alright.