About

I write about linguistics for a general audience, most notably for Mental Floss, on Slate’s Lexicon Valley blog and at The Toast. I’m especially interested in internet linguistics, including the grammar of doge, the “because x” construction, the constraints on synonyms for Benedict Cumberbatch, linguistics on tumblrthat feeling when you use a subordinate clause, and interviews with CBC Sparkwith the BBC Today Programme, and with the Kojo Show on WAMU. A full list of my non-blog writing can be found here, and the most up-to-date source is always my blog, All Things Linguistic.

I’m interested in linguistics outreach and bridging the gap between linguistics and the general public. I’m currently organizing several edit-a-thons to improve linguistics-related articles on Wikipedia: January 2015 at the LSA annual meeting, March 28-29 via the #lingwiki hashtag on Twitter, and July 2015 at the LSA summer institute. I also taught a four-week linguistics session at Explorations, a summer camp for 9-14 year olds, and I’ve summarized the materials I used here. (See outreach and teaching for more activities.)

I graduated from McGill University in 2013 with an M.A. in linguistics. My M.A. thesis is about verb stem composition in Mi’gmaq (Eastern Algonquian), with respect to how both roots (‘initials’) and categorizing elements (‘finals’) create idioms when they attach directly to each other, but have predictable meanings when they attach to larger pieces of structure. My thesis and various handouts can be downloaded here.

Until February 2015, I edited Slate’s Lexicon Valley blog, and while I’m no longer accepting pitches, you may be interested in my advice for writing pop linguistics articles and differences between teaching versus pop linguistics, and even other pop science. Or if you’d rather just explain linguistics to your friends and family.

When I’m not linguist-ing, I like swing-dancing, board games, and experimenting with new recipes.

Want to interview me or have me write for you? Feel free to get in touch! I’m also generally interested in linguistically interesting books for review, especially fiction.