Monday, 10 September 2012

LAGB 2012

LAGB 2012 was just about the most well-organised LAGB I've ever attended. Everything ran smoothly, the venue was nice (if uncomfortably hot/cold depending on which room you were in) and the papers were good. Well done to the organisers, who must have done a heck of a lot of work to make it work so well. This is the Lady Hale building at Salford, where the conference was held. That weird white thing lights up pretty colours at night:

There was this sign, and another one the same at the other end, on this path on the campus:

'This land is private and there is no intention to create a public right of way across it'

We were all baffled by this. As a friend remarked, it's cancelling an implicature that was never there in the first place. Do they get a lot of people asking if there is any intention to create a right of way across the land? No one stopped us walking along that path. Did we have permission to do so? What does it even mean?

They seem to go in for overly explanatory signage in Salford - there was another sign which I didn't get a picture of, which said 'Cyclists dismount. This is not a cycle way.' The first part of that is surely enough to achieve the desired effect, but in Salford they like to explain why you must dismount.

Anyway, now I've moved down to Canterbury to start properly at my new job at Kent. First meeting is this morning.


  1. Glad you enjoyed the conference! I agree that the signs are a bit weird, but I think it's all down to the fact that the university shares its land with Salford Museum and Art Gallery, run by the council, and that the campus encircles Salford Crescent station. This must lead to a lot of foot traffic which is nothing to do with the uni and they've felt the need to put this over-zealous disclaimer to alert people to the distinction. The path you've pictured is probably the most direct route from the main road to the station, so I guess it's saying, albeit not clearly, 'it's your decision to walk this way'.

  2. linguistlauraBeautiful banner at your site as well, I am reminded of some wall paintings by the Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, such as this one You browse more murals of his at

  3. One of the ways in which public roads come to exist is because people travel over them. If a road is accessible to the public and is used sufficiently often for sufficiently long, it becomes a public road "by prescription", as lawyers say. Such signs are designed to prevent this from happening; for the same reason, walkways are sometimes closed for one day a year to assert the landowner's control.