Cross-posted from All Things Linguistic.
In 2017, podcasting turned from a fun new experiment into a real, self-sustaining project, I checked off half of the American states on my have-visited list thanks to conference rotation (lifetime, not just in this year), and I got my book way closer to being a real thing you’ll get to see soon.
4. Inside the Word of the Year vote
5. Colour words around the world and inside your brain
6. All the sounds in all the languages – the International Phonetic Alphabet
7. Kids these days aren’t ruining language
8. People who make dictionaries: Review of Kory Stamper’s book Word by Word
9. The bridge between words and sentences — Constituency
10. Learning languages linguistically
11. Layers of meaning — Cooperation, humour, and Gricean Maxims
12. Sounds you can’t hear – Babies, accents, and phonemes
13. What Does it Mean to Sound Black? Intonation and Identity Interview with Nicole Holliday
14. Getting into, up for, and down with prepositions
15. Talking and thinking about time
We also launched a Patreon for the podcast, and released 10 bonus episodes there:
- Swearing and pseudo-swears
- How to teach yourself linguistics
- How to explain linguistics to employers (text chat)
- Doggo linguistics behind the scenes
- Language play
- DIY linguistic research
- Hark, a liveshow! So, like, what’s up with discourse markers?
- Is X a sandwich? Solving the word-meaning argument
- Liveshow Q and eh
In addition, we launched some lingthusiastic merch: scarves with a subtly nerdy IPA print on them, stickers with our logo, and various items that say NOT JUDGING YOUR GRAMMAR, JUST ANALYSING IT.
I did a lot of behind the scenes writing on my book about internet language, which will be published by Riverhead at Penguin. All you got to see about it for 2017 was this update about line edits and a few cryptic tweets, but stay very much tuned for more updates about it in 2018!
You can sign up for very occasional email updates about the book here, if you want to make sure you don’t miss it on social media.
Talks, workshops, and teaching
A linguistics museum called Planet Word was announced for Washington DC. I’m on the Advisory Board, and I went to New York City in October for a planning meeting
- Internet linguistics at SpaceWitchCon, in the woods of North Carolina
- How I Became An Internet Linguist: Princeton linguistics colloquium talk
At the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting in Austin, Texas:
- Stumbling into linguistics via blogs and Wikipedia at a panel on Getting High School Students into Linguistics which I co-organized with Moti Lieberman. Panel slides and abstracts.
- How people lengthen words on Twitter, co-authored with Jeffrey Lamontagne – slides at bit.ly/longggg.
- Judge for the Five Minute Linguist talks
At South by Southwest in March:
- Moderated a panel called Word Curation: Dictionaries, Tech and the Future with Erin McKean (Wordnik), Jane Solomon (Dictionary.com), and Ben Zimmer (Wall Street Journal).
- Erin, Jane, and I judged an emoji spelling bee organized by Jenny 8 Lee and other people from EmojiCon.
At the LSA institute in Lexington, Kentucky in July, I taught a four-week class on communicating linguistics or LingComm Here’s the class notes as blog posts:
- Day 1: Goals
- Day 2: Terminology and the explainer structure
- Day 3: The Curse of Knowledge and short talks
- Day 4: Myth debunking and in-person events
- Day 5 & 6: Events, self-promotion, and charades
- Day 7 & 8: Pitching and final projects
I also livetweeted the Lingstitute plenary talks:
- Using games to measure how people match the conversational styles of their interlocutor
- Children should be educated in a language they actually speak: Haitian Creole and linguistic colonialism
- Come for the sociolinguistics; stay for the lumbersexuals
- Combatting stereotypes about Appalachian English
- Expanding historical linguistics beyond standardized print texts and into non-standard varieties
- The linguistics of talking to sheepdogs
- “Verbal Gestures” often include sounds that aren’t in a language’s words but which are very important for communication
I did lingwiki Wikipedia editathons at the LSA annual meeting, Lingstitute, and the International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC) in Honolulu, Hawaii in March.
- I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post: Herefefe is why it’s toughfefe to say “covfefe”, which was picked up by the Guardian, Longreads, and El Pais (Spanish).
The first episode of Lingthusiasm was also featured in NY Mag’s Science of Us and on #SciFriLive (Science Friday on NPR).
A few articles I was quoted in:
- New York Times: on Snapchat and phatic communication, on the communicative function of emoji (Gaymoji) in Grindr, on how we type laughter online.
- NPR All Tech Considered: on the linguistic style of doggo, pupper, and the rest of the dog rates/dogspotting meme, on twitter threads (tweetstorms).
- NY Magazine: The Internet Tilde Perfectly Conveys Something We Don’t Have the Words to Explain.
- CBC Spark: on digital tools revitalizing minority languages
- Al Jazeera The Stream: on emoji (watch here)
- The World in Words: on “aliebn-speak” or the linguistic style of jomny sun.
I moderated a panel about careers in linguistics at the annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistics Association in Toronto. Linguistics jobs interviews that aired on the blog:
- Jane Solomon, lexicographer at Dictionary.com
- Project manager at a language learning software company
- Project manager a language tech company.
- Digital humanities librarian
- Speech pathology
- User experience research
- Text analyst
- Communications consultant
- Quote from Bringing Linguistics to Work
Selected blog posts
I hit my 5-year blogiversary on All Things Linguistic! Here are a few of my favourite posts from 2017:
- A list of linguistics and language podcasts
- A very long list of linguistics movies, documentaries, and TV show episodes
- Linguistics Halloween costume roundup
- Linguistics merch gift guide
- How to teach yourself linguistics online for free
Linguistics handmade things
- Schwa cookies!
- Gingerbread wugs and IPA
- Knitted IPA door handles and a stuffed wug
- A wug-tastic addition to the linguistics baked goods files
- An embroidered IPA vowel trapezoid with animals
- Two lobsters, a baby octopus, and 21 vodka oyster shots…before running into the sea
- The new Buffalo buffalo… sentence is about a fish called Boops boops
- Yahoo Answers takes on the type-token distinction
- “Amelia Earhart flies, like, a plane.”
- Local man fond of linguistic garden path sentences friends to hearing his boring puns
Structural ambiguity: Lindsay Lohan and the snake, who calls their cat toxoplasma gondii?, true self control is waiting until the movie starts to eat your popcorn, ultraviolet wine, “You can’t eat a dumpling wearing a tuxedo!”, the sad and lonely man science has left you
Things about languages:
- A longread on whistled languages around the world
- RIP the inventor of pinyin
- A schematic of why the Korean alphabet is so cool
- Irish spelling has its own historical logic
- The different versions of “I” in Japanese
- The middle finger in American Sign Language
- Egyptian hieroglyphs in Unicode
- How to revive Massachusetts’s first language
- The Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights
- Deciphering ancient Incan khipu string code
- New paint colours invented by neural network
- A great visualization of Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics
- Clip of someone whistling a sentence in Spanish
- The most common speech sounds in languages around the world
- The problems with talking about “oldest languages”
- Latin, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit triplets
- Playing wax cylinder recordings of Indigenous languages with lasers
- The Vocal Fries does an interview about Rez English(es) and indigenous language revitalization
- Native American Hand Talkers fight to keep sign language alive
- An exercise for teaching about iconicity in ASL for intro linguistics classes
- Google Translate adds gender stereotypes when translating from Turkish
- Gifs and videos about aphasia
- Hidden sounds in English that you don’t realize you’re saying
- An interview with Alexandra D’Arcy about why “like” is so interesting
- Pink Trombone, an interactive simulation of the vocal tract
- “Becoming conscious of previously unconscious phenomena is one of the principle joys of linguistic work”
- A sentence containing all the vowels in (some dialects of) English
- The linguistics of talking backwards
- Three interesting articles by Julie Sedivy in Nautilus Magazine, about the role of linguistics in literature and more
- “Lexicography moves so slowly that scientists classify it as a solid”
- The relationship between gesture and thinking/speaking
- A graph of a kid’s first words
- Conlang summer camp for high school students
- An intro to the field of computational sociolinguistics
- Spenser vs Shakespeare: a response to grammar policing
- How to tell apart the two “th” sounds in English
- Inclusive and exclusive “we”
- Phonemes as Pokémon cards and the first conference on Pokémonastics
- Deaf babies, when exposed to ASL, start to babble with their hands
- “Linguists are interested in your intuitive sense of grammaticality”
- How to type IPA on your computer or phone
- When does maluma/takete fail? The language’s sound system matters
- Sign languages have accents
- Why sign language gloves don’t help Deaf people
- The strange reason deaf children aren’t taught sign language
- “lol” as “this is to indicate that this brief text isn’t hostile”
- when you accidentally type a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence
- Phoenician letters as emoji
- How many times people repeat the “u” when saying “fuck” on twitter
- Question mark in parentheses (?)
- Winnie-the-Pooh used Ironic Capitals
- “i lik the bred”, a meme of rhyme and Middle English
- you: *cough* me, a linguist: aspirated glottal stop
- Is your child texting about phonetics?? meme
- OK is a fossilized meme
- You’ve heard of Elf on the Shelf, now get ready for…phonemes on the memes
Missed out on previous years? Here are the summary posts from 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. If you’d like to get a much shorter monthly highlights newsletter via email, you can sign up for that on my website.