I’m an internet linguist: I explore the language of the internet, for the people of the internet.
I’m the author of Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, a pop linguistics book about internet language coming out from Riverhead (Penguin) in July 2019. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, you can sign up for very occasional email updates.
I’m the Resident Linguist at WIRED, where I write a column about internet language, and I was formerly the Resident Linguist at The Toast.
I’m the co-creator of Lingthusiasm, a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics. Here’s how people describe the show.
Notable internet linguistics topics I’ve written or spoken about include:
- Voldemorting: birdsite, cheeto, and other ways of hiding words in plain sight (WIRED)
- The widely-spoken languages we still can’t translate online (WIRED)
- The grammar of doge (The Toast) and snek and doggo/pupper
- Whether emoji are language (spoiler: no)
- Whether emoji are causing the death of English (spoiler: NO)
- What kinds of letters people lengthennnn
- When you can and can’t even
- The srs bsns of disemvowellment
- The “because x” construction
- The constraints on synonyms for Benedict Cumberbatch (The Toast)
- Minimalist capitalization and punctuation on the internet
- That feeling when you use a subordinate clause
- Vintage internet slang
- What makes a good ship name
- Why it’s hard to say “covfefe”
- A whole series on internet language for Mental Floss
- I spoke at SXSW 2016 on the linguistic secrets of billions of emoji
- I moderated a SXSW 2017 panel about Word Curation: Dictionaries, tech, and the future
- I spoke at EmojiCon 2018 on emoji as gesture
I have a master’s in linguistics from McGill University. I’m interested in bridging the gap between linguistics and the general public: outreach I do includes media, #lingwiki Wikipedia editathons, and my blog All Things Linguistic.
When I’m not linguist-ing, I like fancy hats, indie ice cream shops, and fiction that expands my horizons.
Please note that my surname is not spelled the way that spellcheck thinks it is. If you’re writing it anywhere official, like a nametag, a contract, or an article, please double check! Here are some longer notes on pronouncing and spelling my name.
Want to interview me, or have me write, speak, or consult for you? Feel free to get in touch! (Contact info on the sidebar.) For the sake of easy email triage, please summarize your entire request in the subject line with keywords, e.g. “XYZ news emoji media request”.