I’m an internet linguist: I analyze the language of the internet, for the people of the internet.
I’m the author of the New York Times bestselling Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, a pop linguistics book about internet language which came out from Riverhead (Penguin) on July 23, 2019 in the US/Canada and will be out with Harvill Secker/Vintage on October 3, 2019 in the UK and the rest of the Commonwealth. See reviews and other media about Because Internet here or a longer description and online ordering links here. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any places where I might be doing future Because Internet events, you can sign up for very occasional email updates.
I’m the co-creator of Lingthusiasm, a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics. People describe the show as: “like I’m listening in on a conversation between two of my most interesting friends” and I’d suggest starting with our episode on When nothing means something.
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)
- Children are using emoji for digital-age language learning (WIRED)
- The predictive text meme presents the best version of you (WIRED)
- Coding is for everyone—as long as you speak English (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
- Minimalist capitalization and punctuation on the internet
- I spoke at SXSW 2016 on the linguistic secrets of billions of emoji
- I spoke at EmojiCon 2018 on emoji as gesture
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.