TESOL, AAAL and AERA – spring conference round-up from MM

28 April 2016

For the Multilingual Matters/Channel View team, April has been a busy month and there have been just 2 days when we’ve all been in the office together. Those blog readers who also follow our Facebook page will have seen photos from Sarah and Elinor’s trip to the London Book Fair and a selection from our US conference travels, an annual highlight on our travel calendar.

This year’s arrangements involved a lot of juggling and complicated logistics due to the clash of the annual AAAL and AERA conferences but thankfully both we and all our books and display materials made it to all intended destinations!  Mine and Tommi’s first destination was Baltimore, where the TESOL convention was being held.

Laura, Ron Darvin, Bonny Norton and Tommi

One of the highlights of our time in Baltimore was the lunch we hosted to celebrate our author, Bonny Norton, and Ron Darvin being co-awarded the 2016 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research.

For Tommi, it was then onwards to meet Anna in Orlando, where the two of them represented Multilingual Matters at AAAL.  As usual the conference was extremely busy for us and both new and older titles proved to be extremely popular at our stand. Of the older titles, Blommaert’s Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes proved to be enduringly popular and was the best-seller overall.  It was closely followed by the new titles Emotion and Discourse in L2 Narrative Research by Matthew T. Prior, Positive Psychology in SLA edited by Peter D. MacIntyre, Tammy Gregersen and Sarah Mercer and Literacy Theories for the Digital Age by Kathy A. Mills.

Meanwhile, I was at AERA in Washington, where Kathy A. Mills conducted a book signing at our stand for the book, which was by far the most popular title there. It was great to see readers meeting the author and having the opportunity to talk about the work with the author in person.

Laura Longworth at the Longworth House Office Building in Washington

After the conference I enjoyed a morning exploring Washington and found that there is a Longworth House Office there.  A rather surprised worker in the building kindly took a photo of me to mark the discovery!

Tommi then returned to Washington, where he and I had some meetings. A highlight was the visit to the CAL offices where we met with Terry Wiley and his colleagues to discuss the new book series we are working on together with CAL. The series is due to launch later this year when we expect to be publishing the first book, written by Sarah Shin. Watch this space for more information… While there we also enjoyed many conversations with members of the CAL community and finding out more about the work they do.

All in all, April was a very hectic month for us all and we’re still very busy catching up and of course publishing more books – 12 more to come over the next two months! Keep your eye on our blog, Facebook page and Twitter account for further details. Next stop for us on the conference trail will be the Sociolinguistics Symposium in Murcia. We hope to see you there!

Laura


Multilingual Matters on the Road at Recent Conferences!

1 May 2015

May is now upon us and as I sit here in the spring sunshine it’s easy to wonder where March and April went.  My colleagues will be quick to point out that as well as the months travelling by, I have also been doing some travelling, together with Tommi and Kim.

Following the NABE conference in Las Vegas, the next conference on our spring schedule was GURT which Tommi attended in Washington in March.  The theme of the conference was “Diversity and Super-Diversity: Sociocultural Linguistic Perspectives”.  Our two books Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes by Jan Blommaert and Linguistic Landscape in the City edited by Elana Shohamy et al were popular following the authors’ keynotes.  Tommi then flew over the border to Canada to meet me in Toronto, where we spent the next 10 days.

Tommi with Dolores, Bessie and Smita during our visit to UTP

Tommi with Dolores, Bessie and Smita during our visit to UTP

The first appointment of our trip was with the University of Toronto Press Distribution (UTP), our North American distributor.  We have had a long relationship with them and it was lovely to catch up with people we email almost daily but haven’t seen in person for a number of years.  Smita and Dolores are our first points of contact at UTP and they oversee the processing of any orders to customers based in Canada and the US, be they purchases, review copies, desk copies or anything else.  As well as discussing work, they and Bessie were able share their insider knowledge on Ontario, and recommended a trip to Niagara on our mid-trip afternoon off.

Kim, Tommi and Laura manning the stand at AAAL

Kim, Tommi and Laura manning the stand at AAAL

The next highlight of our trip was the annual AAAL conference, which this year took place in Toronto together with its Canadian equivalent ACLA.  Kim flew out to join Tommi and me and the three of us manned the stand and went to sessions.  The AAAL conference is always a lively and well-attended event and we are always proud to display a full selection of our recent publications to the field.  It’s one of the rare occasions where we see all of our publications side-by-side and reflect on all the work that has been put in by our authors.  Our SLA series had a bumper year, with 4 books in the series making our top 10 list of sellers and Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning edited by Zoltán Dörnyei, Peter D. MacIntyre and Alastair Henry topped the chart.  Of our 2015 titles, Power and Meaning Making in an EAP Classroom by Christian Chun was very popular, as was the 2nd edition of Merrill Swain, Linda Steinman and Penny Kinnear’s work Sociocultural Theory in Second Language Education.

Kim and the Yorkshire puddings!

Kim and the Yorkshire puddings!

We celebrated the publication of this new 2nd edition one evening together with the authors and some of their colleagues.  Merrill Swain chose a superb French restaurant for the occasion and that was one of many evenings during our stay in Toronto when we were impressed with the cuisine that the city had to offer.  We seemed to eat our way round the world as we enjoyed not only local Canadian cuisine but also that with influences from Japan, Iran, Italy and in one restaurant, Yorkshire, Kim’s home county in the UK.  The chef was a little intimidated when he heard that a true Yorkshire lass was to taste his take on Yorkshire puddings!

As soon as AAAL was over it was nearly time for TESOL, but not before we had waved Kim farewell (she headed back to the UK for the iMean conference) and Tommi and I had managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Niagara Falls.  The Falls were every bit as stunning as I had imagined and even noisier!  TESOL was its usual busy self and the keynotes given by our authors Michael Byram and Jim Cummins pulled enormous crowds.

Mike Byram giving his keynote

Mike Byram giving his keynote

We also attended some of the smaller sessions, including a panel discussion on L2 Motivational Self-Concept in Language Learning which was organised by future author Nihat Polat and included Zoltán Dörnyei, Kata Csizér and Michael Magid as speakers.  Kata and Michael recently published The Impact of Self-Concept on Language Learning with us, and their visit to the stand afterwards marked the first time that they had been together with the published book!

The final conference of my trip was the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting in Chicago.  It was the first time that I had attended AERA and it was a surprise to me to be at a conference with delegates with backgrounds other than language.  However, even those who were there for sessions in another field of study were sometimes drawn to our books and A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism by Colin Baker was often picked up for personal rather than research reasons.  The most popular title of the conference was another of our books on bilingualism, the collection The Bilingual Advantage edited by Rebecca M. Callahan and Patricia C. Gándara.

It has been a busy year already for conference travel but isn’t set to quieten down yet.  Next on our schedule are The 10th International Symposium on Bilingualism which Tommi and Elinor are attending in New Jersey in May, and the 27th International Conference on Foreign/Second Language Acquisition which I’ll be going for in Poland.  If you’re at any of these meetings do please pop by our stand and say hello, we’d love to meet you!

Laura


Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning

23 October 2014

This month marked the publication of Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning edited by Zoltán Dörnyei, Peter MacIntyre and Alastair Henry. In this post we find out how the book came together.

9781783092550That Zoltán Dörnyei and Peter MacIntyre would embark on a project of putting together an anthology of papers applying dynamic principles to the investigation of motivational phenomena is perhaps not surprising. For some time both had been shifting their research interests in dynamic directions. While in his 2009 book The Psychology of Second Language Acquisition Zoltán mapped out the ways in which CDST (Complex Dynamic Systems Theory) could provide an important, game-changing approach to the study of individual differences, Peter had begun work developing pioneering methodologies that could capture moment-by-moment fluctuations in motivation. Both were also very aware that while most of the cutting-edge theorizing in SLA took it for granted that the future lay along the dynamic path, empirical research had lagged behind and continued to follow traditional, non-dynamic research approaches. Quite simply the time was right for a collection of papers investigating the dynamics of L2 motivation and drawing on CDST principles in such research.

Testing the water, Zoltán first broached the idea of a CDST-inspired motivation anthology with Tommi and Laura at the 2012 AAAL conference in Boston. Buoyed by their enthusiastic response, the ball started to roll. Shortly thereafter invitations to contribute were sent out to over 40 researchers working with L2 motivation and here too responses were overwhelmingly positive. To keep the momentum for the project growing, Zoltán and Peter organized a well-attended colloquium at the 2013 AAAL gathering in Dallas where John Schumann provided an inspiring introduction and, in her role as discussant, Diane Larsen-Freeman assessed the contributions, arguing persuasively that motivation researchers should continue the journey now started along a CDST pathway. The energy generated by the symposium was sustained at a subsequent reception hosted by Multilingual Matters at the convention center where many of the book’s contributors met to enjoy a drink (thanks Tommi and Laura!) and to discuss ways forward.

However, while Zoltán and Peter were delighted at the enthusiasm generated by the project, privately they were concerned about the scope of the undertaking and the time investment that the putting together of such a large and pioneering collection of papers would demand. Realising that, unless the editorial team was expanded, they would be locked to their desks for next eighteen months, they invited Alastair to breakfast the day following the colloquium and, in true Godfather style, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

With Alastair on board and chapter drafts beginning to arrive, the following eight months saw the team working intensively with the submissions, hardly a week going by without flurries of email correspondence. At the most crucial moments, skype meetings were held early morning (for Peter in Canada) and late afternoon (for Alastair and Zoltán in Europe). Difficult editorial decisions were discussed among the three editors over skype. Whereas the quality of the papers was uniformly high, not all could be included in the volume. Not because Multilingual Matters had any upper limit (Tommi had even promised Zoltán that the book could stretch to two volumes if necessary!), but because early on the editors realised that for the book to be a success – i.e. that it could provide a series of research blueprints that would enable graduate students and established researchers alike to embark on CDST-inspired projects – it was imperative that only those papers that truly instantiated dynamic approaches could be included. Making these decisions was by no means an easy task and several high quality papers that have now been published (or are in press) in other forums were turned down.

After another intensive period of editing, the manuscript began to take shape. In the summer of 2014 a final draft was sent to Multilingual Matters. Not only had an impressive range of empirical studies been put together (many employing novel methodologies), but the manuscript also included a series of conceptual papers dealing with CDST concepts and terminology. Contributions from leading scholars such as Diane Larsen-Freeman, Kees de Bot and Marjolijn Verspoor map out some of the fundamental principles of CDST, such as the role of attractor states, timescales, initial conditions and context. These concepts will be new and unusual to some readers of the volume, so the 10 introductory chapters were designed to provide ‘one stop shopping’ for readers entering the CDST field.

The empirical section of the book features a dozen highly original empirical studies. Motivation-related concepts that are familiar to teachers and researchers alike are dealt with from a dynamic perspective. These concepts are studied with a series of innovative and creative methodological approaches that provide richly detailed information about motivational processes. Although there are a number of ground-breaking ideas that emerge from these empirical investigations, the fact that so many types of studies are possible surely bodes well for the future of the dynamic turn in SLA. The empirical studies included in the volume demonstrate how to do research under a CDST umbrella.

The book (which, much to the relief of MM remained a single volume!) is not just the product of the dedication and hard work on the part of the contributors. It is also a statement of intent. As one of the contributors put it, “once a researcher understands the complexity worldview, in a sense there is a transformation in thinking. Everything you observe and experience from then on – whether it involves personal relationships, parenting concerns, events unfolding in contemporary society, to say nothing of SL classroom phenomena – is nothing if not complex and dynamic”. The social world around us is dynamic and, even though CDST inspired research is more challenging (empirically and conceptually), once such a transformation in thinking has taken place, turning back it isn’t always that easy.

When Zoltán, Peter and Alastair set out on this project they set themselves a challenge; they could either initiate a robust research project that took well-established motivation constructs and, by applying dynamic principles to their investigation, produce convincing empirical evidence for the sustainability of the approach, or they would need to come to terms with the fact that the dynamic approach in SLA might be an attractive but ultimately unrealisable idea. The production of this volume has served as this testing ground. If nothing else, the research collected here is a sign that some researchers have found the CDS approach both ‘cool’ enough to explore in a research project and ‘hot’ enough to inspire new ideas.

Capitalizing on Language Learners' IndividualityMotivation, Language Identity and the L2 SelfMotivational Dynamics in Language Learning is now published – more information is available on our website. You might also be interested in Zoltán and Peter’s other books: Motivation, Language Identity and the L2 Self and Capitalizing on Language Learners’ Individuality.

 


Conferences Fast-forward

28 February 2014

Again it’s the time of year when we start to think about conferences and leaving our office in Bristol for different cities, countries and climates.  2014 is set to be a bumper year of travel as it seems to be the year when biannual and triennial conferences occur, and some one-off conferences also join our usual schedule.

San Diego Convention Center - location for NABE 2014

San Diego Convention Center – location for NABE 2014

The year has kick-started with CAUTHE and NABE, both of which took place as usual in February.  Sarah and Laura headed off in different directions around the globe – Sarah to Brisbane for CAUTHE and Laura to San Diego for NABE.  Keep your eyes on the blog to read about Sarah’s trip soon. NABE was slightly blighted by the snow storms on the East Coast which meant that several delegates had to cancel their plans, but those of us who did make it enjoyed the Californian sunshine, when we weren’t at the conference of course!

In March, Tommi, Laura and Kim will be at AAAL as usual.  This year’s conference in Portland has a publishing focus, so Tommi will be running a session titled “Publishing your first book: From proposal to published product” in which he’ll outline the process of getting an academic book published, from early preparation and planning, through choosing the right publisher, submitting a book proposal and all the editorial stages to final production, publication, sales and marketing. If you are at the conference and at all interested in this subject please come along to the talk at 12:35 on Saturday.

Our stand at NABE 2014

Our stand at NABE 2014

TESOL in Portland and AERA in Philadelphia are the other conferences in the US which we’ll be exhibiting at this spring.  We will have a whole host of new titles with us at these conferences so do feel free to come over and browse the books and say hi.  We always offer a special conference price on our books to delegates, and this year we’re able to extend that to our ebooks, so there’s all the more reason to come over and say hi!

Other highlights later in the year include the Interdisciplinary Tourism Research Conference in Turkey in May, L3 and the Sociolinguistics Symposium both in Northern Europe in June, AILA in Australia in August and EUROSLA in York, UK to name a few. As ever, we very much hope that you’ll be able to meet us at one of these conferences and hope that you have safe and enjoyable travels too.

Laura


AAAL and TESOL: Dallas 2013

16 April 2013

For us, the month of March is almost synonymous with conference season and our annual trip to the US to exhibit at the AAAL and TESOL conferences.  This year was no different, so after our trip to Toronto (which you can read all about here), Tommi and I headed south to Dallas.

Tommi on our stand at AAAL

Tommi on our stand at AAAL

In true Texan style, everything seemed big, including our space in the exhibit hall which made our tables and books seem miniature, and it was hard to work out how best to organise our stand.  Fortunately, Tommi had great visions and so we set up our stand in a triangular shape, which Tommi dubbed as “the cutting edge”!  As usual, we had brought all our new titles and some of our more recent and popular books from our long backlist.  The bestsellers at AAAL this year were Language and Mobility by Alastair Pennycook, Kimie Takahashi’s Language Learning, Gender and Desire and Native-Speakerism in Japan edited by Stephanie Houghton and Damian J. Rivers.

Tommi and Laura: TESOL does Texas!

Tommi and Laura: TESOL does Texas!

The back-to-back scheduling of AAAL and TESOL is very convenient for us as it involves less travel and we find it easy to transfer materials between the two venues.  This year we were lucky to have a morning off between the end of AAAL and set up for TESOL so Tommi and I spent the free time visiting the JFK museum which we thought was very well done and really interesting. Then it was straight on to the bustle of TESOL!  The TESOL audience can be a bit wider and different to the AAAL one, so we alter our books on display accordingly.  Popular titles there included Integrating Multilingual Students into College Classrooms by Johnnie Johnson Hafernik and Fredel M. Wiant and Roger Barnard and Anne Burn’s edited volume Researching Language Teacher Cognition and Practice.

Our evenings in Texas were spent enjoying steaks and Tex Mex, as well as the good company of colleagues we rarely see.  We met with Suzanne and John Edwards, who have known Multilingual Matters since our early days, John being the series editor of our original book series; Aneta Pavlenko, who is keen to work closely with publishers at next year’s AAAL, which she is presiding over; and Terry Wiley and Susan Gilson from CAL, who we are working with on an exciting new series of books. We were also able to join the contributors to Zoltán Dörnyei, Peter MacIntyre and Alastair Henry’s forthcoming book for a drink and catch up with many more delegates at the AAAL opening reception.

Rodeo in Fort Worth

Rodeo in Fort Worth

What with all those arrangements, it’s a wonder that Tommi and I also found time to go to the Cowtown Coliseum rodeo show in Fort Worth and join the other publishers to see the Dallas Stars take on the Calgary Flames in an ice hockey match.  If you’re ever in Dallas, we highly recommend both of those trips for a good evening of entertainment!

Laura


Tommi and Laura visit Toronto

10 April 2013

In March, Tommi and I visited Toronto on our way from the UK to the AAAL and TESOL conferences in Dallas. Not only is Toronto (surprisingly, to me, as my Geography is a bit patchy) a logical rest-stop en route, but it is also home to our North American book distributor, UTP, and several of our authors.

Tommi and Laura with Hamish, Smita and Carol at UTP

Tommi and Laura with Hamish, Smita and Carol at UTP

UTP are in charge of shipping books to all our customers in Canada and the USA and so we have daily contact with at least one of our colleagues, Smita, Dolores, Carol and Hamish, and the rest of the team, who work there.  I have been working at Multilingual Matters for a couple of years now, so I was very excited to visit a place which I’ve had so much contact with, but not visited in person.  For Tommi, it was more a case of catching up with old friends!

On arrival at UTP, and after meeting everyone, Carol took us on a tour of the warehouse, so I could understand exactly what happens when our orders arrive.  We saw how the orders are processed, from the receipt of the order from the customer, right up to the book leaving the door, packed and ready for shipment.  I particularly enjoyed finding our books on the shelves as we walked through the warehouse and spotting a packer unpacking a box of returned books that I had sent back from the NABE conference in February.

UTP's Warehouse

UTP’s Warehouse

Smita then showed me how she deals with the different types of requests I send on to her, such as sending inspection/desk copies to lecturers and inputting new titles into the system.  We happened to receive a couple of emails from Ellie, who was in our office in Bristol at the time, so Smita had some genuine examples of her work to show me.

Apart from visiting UTP, Tommi and I also went to meet Alister Cumming and his graduate students at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).  They were spending the day discussing their forthcoming presentations at AAAL and during the lunch break, Tommi and I were able to give a talk about publishing their research both with us in particular, and general advice about what is appropriate for publication as a book, and what is better suited for publication as journal articles. It was great for us to meet everyone and hear about what they are working on, and hope that they found our session of interest.

Merrill Swain, Penny Kinnear and Linda Steinman's book

Merrill Swain, Penny Kinnear and Linda Steinman’s book

We thoroughly enjoyed spending our evenings in Toronto with Merrill Swain, Penny Kinnear and Linda Steinman, authors of Sociocultural Theory in Second Language Education; long-standing publisher friends of Multilingual Matters, Jonathan and Dorothea Lovat Dickson, of Pippin Press; and Greg Poarch, who has recently moved to York University, Toronto.  Tommi and I were definitely spoilt with excellent company and delicious food throughout the week, and we’re already looking forward to our return to Toronto, which we hope will be before the city hosts AAAL in 2015.

Laura


Tommi and Laura’s US Travels

20 April 2012

I’ve just got back to the office after two and a half weeks in the US. Here’s a little round-up of what kept Tommi and me so busy in Boston, Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.

Yankee Book Pedlar

Our first meeting of the trip was with Yankee Book Pedlar, a US library supplier, in Contoocook, New Hampshire. While Tommi had visited before, this was my first visit and so they kindly gave us an overview of how they work. I especially enjoyed being shown how the books are profiled, and was amazed to hear that a team of fewer than 10 log over 60,000 books a year. These titles are profiled so as to ensure that university libraries get books that they are interested in, and only the books that they might want. The profiling is done with the book “in hand”, so the staff get to look at a large and diverse selection of titles each day. Tommi said that if he ever retires from publishing that this might be the job for him!

Portsmouth

After our meeting, and driving in the wrong direction for half an hour (!), we took the coastal road back to Boston and enjoyed visiting Portsmouth, which was unsurprisingly very different to Portsmouth, UK.

EBSCO's Charging Station

On arrival at EBSCO we were given a tour of the offices, and were impressed with all the measures they are taking to be eco-friendly, such as installing solar panels on the roof of their offices; providing their reps with hybrid cars and electric charging points in the car park; developing a green staff café, complete with a solar water heater and providing staff (and Tommi and me!) with re-usable travel mugs. If you’d like to read more about sustainability, EBSCO’s blog on it can be found here. Following the meeting, Tommi and I returned to Boston via Salem. Although we didn’t find any witches, we did stumble upon this incredible second-hand bookshop.

Bookshop in Salem

The American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) conference ran for the next four days and as usual we were very busy catching up with many academics and publishers, and selling our books of course. Amongst the most popular titles were Aya Matsuda’s edited volume Principles and Practices of Teaching English as an International Language, Theory and Practice in EFL Teacher Education edited by Julia Hüttner et al and Joel Bloch’s new book Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing. We are already looking forward to next year’s meeting in Dallas and to receiving book proposals based on some of the interesting projects that we were told about.

Boston Bruins versus Tampa Bay Lightning

After the conference was over, and before leaving for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Conference in Philadelphia, Tommi and I found time to enjoy a well-deserved break: a not-so-relaxing, but very fun, evening at the Boston Bruins versus Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey match. While Tommi might maintain Finnish hockey is better (!), it was the most exciting hockey game I’ve ever seen.

On arrival in Philadelphia, Tommi barely had time to eat a cheesesteak before it was time for the TESOL conference to get underway. Our stall was very popular, giving us little time to explore the exhibition hall, and the evenings were filled by fellow publisher Caslon’s drinks reception in one of Philadelphia’s historic buildings and an enjoyable dinner with some of our colleagues from CAL. Before we knew it, it was time for Tommi to head on to Canada for AERA and for me to take a few days’ holiday in New York before returning to the UK. Watch this space for news about Tommi’s Canadian trip.

TESOL Stand


Conferences ahoy!

9 February 2012

We are now approaching our busiest conference season of the year. Over the next couple of months we will be heading off to our spring conferences. Between them, Tommi and Laura will be attending the Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics, AAAL, TESOL and AERA conferences in the US and Canada. In the meantime, Elinor will be the attending the Bilingual and Multilingual Interaction conference back in the UK. We will also be going to the Sociolinguistics Symposium later in the summer in Berlin.

Ellie, Laura and a new friend at TESOL last year

Our stand at last year's AAAL conference

If you’re attending any of these conferences please do come and say hello. We love to meet people face-to-face and discuss what they’re working on. We also sell all our books at special conference discounts so you can pick up a bargain while you’re there! We always bring a large display of our books so you can have a browse through our new titles. If you’re one of our authors and are going to be at a conference that we’re attending please let us know in plenty of time and we’ll make sure we have extra copies of your book on display. We hope to see you soon!


AAAL 2011

13 April 2011

At the end of March Tommi and I attended the annual AAAL (American Association for Applied Linguistics) conference in Chicago.  AAAL is one of our most important conferences as a large proportion of our authors, editors and customers attend.  So for me, as a newcomer to the world of linguistics and publishing, I felt really lucky to have the opportunity to go and meet everyone.

Our programme for the week was packed and didn’t leave much time for getting to know Chicago: we had the Multilingual Matters reception; the book launch for our new book celebrating Nancy Hornberger’s 60th birthday; dinner with fellow independent publisher John Benjamins and of course, we had to be up early to man our stand from 8am!  The busy conference gave Tommi the opportunity to catch up with many familiar contacts and meant that I was able to meet many people for the first time.  As a small publisher we all work with each of the titles and authors at some point along the chain and it’s great for me to now associate more than just an email address with a fair proportion of the books on the shelves behind my desk.

As we have entered a Channel View team for the Bristol 10k run in May, I did have to make time to do some exercise and decided that going for a run would enable me to see more of Chicago than the conference hotel.  While running I was struck by how different Chicago is to New Orleans (the only other American city I’ve ever visited).  Since I’ve been back many people have asked me which I prefer and, like when people ask me which of the languages I speak I prefer, I find I can’t reply as they are just incomparable.  Both cities had a real buzz about them, but the buzzes were different, and I can’t quite put my finger on what makes them both so individual.

Laura


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