This month, I attended the first EmojiCon in San Francisco. I gave a talk about the mistake people make in assuming that emoji are a language, and three paralinguistic things that emoji do instead (in column form, and here’s a visualization of it), and met a lot of interesting people. You can see livetweets from the event at the #EmojiCon hashtag and I’m quoted in this article about it for TIME.
My article on teen girls as language disruptors, which I wrote for Quartz last year, was republished in a print textbook from Oxford University Press, Making Sense of Language, and my copy of the book finally arrived in the mail.
I revised and updated my annual guide for explaining linguistics to your friends and family this holiday season. See also: my archive of linguistmas posts and 2016 linguistics merch.
Like all linguists this month, I went and saw the linguistics sci fi movie Arrival. Here are a few comments from me, another linguist’s twitter thread, linguistics cut scenes from the screenwriter, and a full list of linguistics media coverage. I also wrote a guide to more linguistics for people who liked Arrival, which I cross-posted to Medium. (Plus: an Arrival recruitment poster and meme.)
- An excellent paper on sound symbolism in Pokemon names
- Female characters receive more mentions in fanfic than in canon
- The thing that combines multiple emoji into one is called a ZWJ (pronounced “zwidge”)
- A flowchart of the shadowy subcommittees that add emoji to your devices
- Just like A can differ across fonts, 😱 can differ across fonts
- Is there a sequence of sounds that’s an impossible word in EVERY language?
- In 200 years this kind of sentence is going to be the equivalent of the canterbury tales where you need 4 years of grad school to read it
- Hygge humour
- better add a “keep reading” link
Selected blog posts:
- I updated my list of linguistics podcasts
- How statistics solved a 175 year old mystery about Alexander Hamilton
- Two articles about colour terms in various languages
- A classic table of accidental gaps in English
- Linguistics jobs interview with a scholarly communications librarian
- “As social beings who are linguists, we have a responsibility to address language-related inequalities.”
- On the discursive function of “waslike”
- Why Justin Timberlake sings “May” instead of “Me”
- As people use more emoji, they use fewer emoticons and nonstandard spellings
- Fanfic-specific vocabulary
- On the development of the Adlam alphabet
- The Standing Rock Sioux are also fighting for their language
This month’s image is a bunch of emoji-themed art by Yiying Lu from the exhibit at EmojiCon. I spent much of the conference deeply embedded in Unicode geekery but the art definitely makes a better photo.