About

I write about linguistics for a general audience, especially about language on the internet.

These days, I’m writing a series on internet language for Mental Floss and the “A Linguist Explains…” series at The Toast, and I used to edit and write for Slate’s Lexicon Valley blog. Notable internet linguistics topics I’ve covered include: the grammar of doge, the “because x” construction, the constraints on synonyms for Benedict Cumberbatch, internet sarcasmlinguistics on tumblr, and that feeling when you use a subordinate clause. I’ve also done radio interviews with NPR (All Tech Considered, Youth Radio), 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 have an Inspire grant from Wikimedia to organize a series of editathons at linguistics conferences to improve linguistics-related articles on Wikipedia. Events include: January 2015 at the LSA annual meeting in Portland, OR, March 28-29 via the #lingwiki hashtag on Twitter, May 2015 at the CLA annual meeting in Ottawa, four editathons in July 2015 at the LSA summer institute in Chicago, and October 2015 at NELS in Montreal. Interested in hosting a satellite event to get linguists editing Wikipedia? Please get in touch!

I graduated from McGill University in 2013 with an M.A. in linguistics. My thesis and various handouts can be downloaded here. I 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.)

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