Cross-posted from my blog, All Things Linguistic.
In 2018, I finished writing my book about internet language, which now has an official title (BECAUSE INTERNET) and publication date (July 23, 2019). You can preorder it here now and it will arrive as a delightful present from yourself halfway through the year!
I also started writing a column for Wired about internet language and went to Australia to do two Lingthusiasm liveshows.
My book about internet language officially has a title and publication date! Look for BECAUSE INTERNET: UNDERSTANDING THE NEW RULES OF LANGUAGE in July 2019, and you can also put your email address here to make sure you don’t miss when it’s out on social media.
I also began a column about internet language for Wired. My first two articles:
- Voldemorting, birdsite, The Cheeto, and other ways of hiding words in plain sight online.
- Why do some mid-sized languages, like Swedish, have extensive internet resources, while others with the same or larger speaker populations do not?
For Lingthusiasm, my podcast with Lauren Gawne, we did our long-anticipated liveshows in Sydney and Melbourne! We also released new Lingthusiasm merch, including tree diagram scarves, rainbow IPA scarves, Space Baby art, and IPA ties.
We released 12 main episodes and 12 bonus episodes:
16. Learning parts of words – Morphemes and the wug test
17. Vowel Gymnastics
18. Translating the untranslatable
19. Sentences with baggage – Presuppositions
20. Speaking Canadian and Australian English in a British-American binary
21. What words sound spiky across languages? Interview with Suzy Styles
22. This, that and the other thing – determiners
23. When Nothing Means Something
24. Making books and tools speak Chatino – Interview with Hilaria Cruz
25. Every word is a real word
26. Why C and G come in hard and soft versions, and more about palatal sounds
27. Words for family relationships: kinship terms
11. We are all linguistic geniuses – Interview with Daniel Midgley
12. Creating languages for fun and learning
13. The grammar of swearing
14. The poetry of memes
15. Linguistics grad school advice
16. Forensic Linguistics
17. Homophones, homonyms, and homographs
18. Emoji, Gesture and The International Congress of Linguists
20. Bringing up bilingual babies
21. What’s it really like at academic conferences?
22. Q&A (with bonus video!) about the shape of your ears, very old words, and more
A few select media articles:
- Multiple exclamation marks in internet speak!!! (Atlantic)
Video on NBC about teen slang (NBC)
- Dictionary.com’s decision to add entries for emoji (TIME)
- Emoji in the courtroom (CBC The Current)
- On the origins of “doggo” (Wired)
- An interview about Lingthusiasm with Lauren Gawne (Babel Magazine Meet the Professionals series)
- Lingthusiasm was featured on Dictionary.com’s list of best podcasts about language.
I also started a personal/professional instagram account, and started updating the accounts for All Things Linguistic and Lingthusiasm more frequently: go check those out if your instagram feed needs more linguistics in it.
You can also follow All Things Linguistic on Mastodon for a daily linguistics post there.
Talks and conferences
I gave a talk about emoji as gesture at EmojiCon in Brooklyn and about emoji sequences as beat gestures at Emoji2018 at Stanford.
I went to a broad range of interesting conferences this year: XOXO, PatreCon, LangFest, Scintillation, Automatic Speech Recognition for Endangered Languages (ASREL retreat), McGill Symposium on Indigenous Languages, and the annual meeting of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR).
While in Australia, I gave workshops on LingComm at the annual meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society and at the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language summer school, in addition to a sold-out public lecture on internet linguistics at the summer school. I also gave talks about emoji as gesture at four universities: Sydney, Melbourne, Monash, and La Trobe.
At the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, I organized a panel called Language in the Public Ear: Linguistics Outreach via Podcasts and Radio, for which my cohost Lauren Gawne represented Lingthusiasm. I also organized the linguistics Wikipedia editathon with Lauren Collister, and stepped in at the last minute to co-host the Five Minute Linguist competition with Lane Greene of the Economist, in addition to our previously scheduled judging, due to weather issues.
Selected blog posts
I hit my 6-year blogiversary! Here are a few of my favourite posts from 2018:
- A very long list of linguistics YouTube channels and other free online videos about linguistics
- How to explain linguistics to your friends and family this holiday season (updated)
- Linguistics Gift Guide 2018
- So, your linguistics department has a recruitment challenge
- Linguistic approaches to language learning (updated)
- How to teach yourself linguistics online for free (updated)
- 28 tips for doing better in your intro linguistics course (updated)
- Long list of pop linguistics books and lingfic (updated)
- Language and Linguistics podcasts (updated)
- An extensive playlist of songs about linguistics
Linguistics jobs interviews
- Linguistics + X career advice post (updated)
- Freelance editor and writer
- Webinar on working in tech
- Webinar on how to get into linguistics grad school
- Language creator
- Standards engineer
- Working in tech
- Accent coach
- Communications professionals
- Museum curator
- Think tank researcher
- Data science skills
- University course coordinator
Memes and other linguist humour
- Punctuation takes on the distracted boyfriend meme
- lana del rey, translated
- grendel grendel / yes mama
- Linguistics Sign Bunny
- Look, Simba. Everything the light touches on that chart is pronounceable.
- Linguistics takes on the “Is this a pigeon?” meme
- May the 4th Be With You: Syntax Wars
- Is your child texting about linguistics?
- Linguistics takes on the “Hallelujah” meme
- This is the best meme poem and I will brook no arguments
- Half of the students transcribed ‘marriage’ with a final [tʃ]; so I guess it’s true that 50% of marriages end in devoice
- why would you do this / it just seems right?
- Wallet but pronounced like ballet, laughter but pronounced like daughter, and more
- A Maximal Onset Principle joke
- The English “th” sound takes on the Distracted Boyfriend meme
Things about languages
- Pro-Tactile American Sign Language
- Folks, there’s nothing left from the linguistics division. (On the Brazil National Museum fire)
- New Zealand government pushes for Maori in all primary schools by 2025
- Indigenous sign languages
- “I’ve never met anyone who regretted being bilingual”
- Generation poems for names in Korean and Chinese
- Indigenous languages spoken by people at the U.S.-Mexico border
- Plains Sign Language
- Learning Javanese is like learning 3 languages
- “We see value in speaking two languages, but we don’t see value in speaking two dialects. Maybe it’s time we did.
- ”This Egyptian bird has declared himself “your evil son”
- Proto-Algonquian Dictionary now online
- A free online course about the linguistics of signed languages
- Latin roots in English words that ultimately go back to the same Proto-Indo-European roots as native Germanic English words
- Using punctuation marks to help learn tones
- The injustice of the baby sign trend
- On learning Aboriginal languages as a non-Aboriginal person
- You’re never too old to become fluent in a foreign language
- Why Hanukah/Chanukkah/etc is spelled so many different ways
- Pragmatic ambiguity: have you seen my cat?
- Retronym: call-phone
- Reduplication: moonmoon
- Semantic ambiguity: let this be the hour that we draw swords together
- Cheeseburger stabbing ambiguity
- Structural ambiguity: “Fake degree claims dog prominent Spanish politicians.” and “Nicole, who never saw a dog and didn’t smile” (diagrammed)
Linguistics handmade things
- A christmasyntax tree
- Schwa cookies
- Wug cookies and a 3D-printed wug cookie cutter
- Colourful IPA cookies
- How to crochet your own wug
- A study of tagging on tumblr
- A thread on meme semiotics
- A masters thesis about tumblr orthography
- A paper about tagging practices on tumblr
- Icelandic language battles threat of “digital extinction”
- Robot mind meld, a word net game
- Keysmashing “wrong”
- Are emoji sequences as informative as text?
- “Utterly linguisted”
- A mollusc that matches the tree diagram scarves
- What dogs understand when we speak to them
- Star Trek takes on the Gavagai problem
- The impact of climate change on language loss
- Why teaching phonics is an important part of learning to read
- Singular ‘They’ is 700 Years Old
- Crows with a human accent
- Debunking the idea that apes might have learned a sign language
- Repairing the World: a sci fi short story featuring linguists
- IPA Twister
- What’s something that seems obvious within your profession, but the general public seems to misunderstand?
- Yesterday’s syntax is tomorrow’s morphology
- Repetition can make sounds into music
- This young girl uses “los,” “las” and the gender-neutral “les” — watch her explain why.
- Communicating colours using black and white (a language evolution game)
- Yanny or Laurel (two threads, origins)
- A colour-coded diagram of the English IPA with the part of the mouth you use to make each sound
- The logic behind childhood spelling “errors”
- A lexicographer’s guide to real words
- Heaven’s Vault: a videogame that’s “like Guitar Hero for linguistics”
- IPA chart Battleship
- xkcd and the linguist meteorologist
- Why drawings aren’t universal communication
- Deflecting “how are you” and “how many languages do you know” with Gricean Maxims
- An anti-linguistic discrimination limerick for Grammar Day
- Linguistic accommodation
- Babies notice the difference between signed languages and gestures
- Pointing with the index finger isn’t as universal as you might think
- How to visualize consonants by painting charcoal on various parts of your mouth
- The story of “sic”
- When most people tell you they think words are so fascinating, they have in mind items like “canoodle” and “serendipity.” When linguists say it, they have in mind, like, “the.”
- Why do cartoon villains speak in foreign accents?
- Ursula K LeGuin on singular “they”
- The 300-year history of using “literally” figuratively
Missed out on previous years? Here are the summary posts from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. If you’d like to get a much shorter monthly highlights newsletter via email, you can sign up for that on my website.