February 2018: Archive of A Linguist Explains from The Toast

While The Toast is sorting out their website situation, I’ve archived my Toast articles here as a folder of pdfs. I’ve gotten a couple requests for A Linguist Explains The Rules for Summoning Benedict Cumberbatch and A Linguist Explains The Grammar of Doge especially, so now they’re all available! (Also, apparently The Toast is going to be archived in the Library of Congress now, so that’s cool.)

I was referenced in this post on Boing Boing by Clive Thompson.

Our Lingthusiasm main episode was about vowel gymnastics and the bonus episode was about constructed languages (conlangs). Here’s a thread about people ordering custom coloured scarves, and we also made a teaching page with the episodes sorted by topic. We’ve been hearing from several people using Lingthusiasm in their classes, which is exciting!

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s image is a photo of a restaurant sign that I took in Halifax when I was there in December. Someone involved in this restaurant knows their IPA!

mung restaurant IPA sign

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January 2018: Language in the public ear: linguistics podcasts and radio panel at LSA

I organized a panel called Language in the Public Ear: Linguistics Outreach via Podcasts and Radio at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Here’s a description of the panel from the LSA program:

The number of Americans who listen to podcasts has doubled since 2013, and a growing number of these podcasts are about linguistics. Being able to download an episode to your phone or computer, listen to it anywhere (often while doing something else with your hands), and even pause and come back to it, has created a surge in the popularity of audio. While language is often a popular topic on general interest shows, there are now enough dedicated linguistics podcasts that we’ve put together a whole panel of them for the first time in LSA history. This panel brings together the hosts of both well-established and up-and-coming linguistics podcasts, which combined reach hundreds of thousands of listeners around the world.

Although a few speakers ran into weather issues and had to send in their contributions remotely, it all came together in the end! Here’s a link to all the podcasts, in order of appearance, with cohosts who weren’t present in parentheses:

We were also excited to have at the panel The Vocal Fries (Megan Figueroa and Carrie Gillon) which didn’t even exist when we were putting the panel together. It’s great to see the linguistics podcast sphere continue to grow! If you’re looking for more language podcast recommendations, do check out the other podcasts on this list!

Many thanks to everyone who attended the panel and especially to those who livetweeted #LinguisticEar, asked questions, and came up to chat with us! Here’s some more panel recap.

Also at the LSA, I organized a linguistics Wikipedia editathon with Lauren Collister, who’s an excellent new addition to the lingwiki team, in a rather epic room, 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 again. You can watch a video of all the Five Minute Linguist talks here.

Still at the LSA, we took a group photo of lingthusiasts wearing IPA scarves and reached $1000/month on Patreon while Lauren Gawne and I were in the same place, so we got celebratory ice cream!

The Lingthusiasm main episode was about learning parts of words: morphemes and the wug test. Here’s a thread about wugs and linguistic in-jokes. The bonus was an interview with Daniel Midgley of Talk the Talk about how “We are all linguistic geniuses”. We also did an interview with The Vocal Fries about Canadian and Australian Englishes.

I posted my 2017 Year in Review post, with links to the highlights of what I’ve been doing and reading about linguistics. I was also in Superlinguo’s 2017 year in review.

Planning for creating an AP Linguistics course continues: Here’s a thread on how you can help and a blog post version. The LSA is now also offering free membership to K-12 students and teachers.

I did an interview on the origins of “doggo” for Wired.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

I went into two bookstores while I was in Salt Lake City to check out their linguistics sections. One was shelved next to “etiquette” and the other next to “witchcraft.” There are two kinds of linguists…

linguistics bookshelfie salt lake city etiquette witchcraft

2017 Year in Review

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.

Lingthusiasm podcast

My podcast with Lauren Gawne, which launched towards the end of 2016, had a full year of episodes, a sold-out liveshow at Argo Bookshop in Montreal and reached over 100k listens!

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:

  1. Swearing and pseudo-swears
  2. How to teach yourself linguistics
  3. How to explain linguistics to employers (text chat)
  4. Doggo linguistics behind the scenes
  5. Hypercorrection
  6. Language play
  7. DIY linguistic research
  8. Hark, a liveshow! So, like, what’s up with discourse markers?
  9. Is X a sandwich? Solving the word-meaning argument
  10. Liveshow Q and eh

In addition, we launched some lingthusiastic merchscarves with a subtly nerdy IPA print on themstickers with our logo, and various items that say NOT JUDGING YOUR GRAMMAR, JUST ANALYSING IT.

Book

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:

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:

  1. Day 1: Goals
  2. Day 2: Terminology and the explainer structure
  3. Day 3: The Curse of Knowledge and short talks
  4. Day 4: Myth debunking and in-person events
  5. Day 5 & 6: Events, self-promotion, and charades
  6. Day 7 & 8: Pitching and final projects

I also livetweeted the Lingstitute plenary talks:

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.

Media

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:

Linguistics jobs

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:

Selected blog posts

I hit my 5-year blogiversary on All Things Linguistic! Here are a few of my favourite posts from 2017:

Continue reading

December 2017: Full-length bonus episodes and 100k listens on Lingthusiasm

This month’s Lingthusiasm episode was #15: Talking and thinking about time and the bonus was the Q&A from our liveshow in Montreal. We have dubbed it the liveshow Q and eh because the first question is about Canadian “eh” but we also answer other questions!

Thanks to everyone who supported Lingthusiasm’s anniversary by recommending the show: full length bonus episodes started this month! We also announced that we’re adding a new goal to the Patreon: to commission art of a memorable part of Lingthusiasm and make it available for listeners!

We’ve been enjoying seeing pictures of everyone’s IPA scarves and NOT JUDGING YOUR GRAMMAR, JUST ANALYSING IT items on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr! We’re planning a group photo with everyone wearing linguistics merch at the LSA conference in Salt Lake City, just before the Word of the Year vote. We’re also going to compile a collage of everyone’s photos that get sent in!

I was also quoted in this Vox explainer of the Mr. Brightside meme.

I posted my 2017 highlights post on All Things Linguistic if you want a glimpse back on the year.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s featured image is all three colours of IPA scarf, red, navy, and olive, together at last!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-ve

Three scarves with International Phonetic Alphabet pattern in white letters on red, navy, olive

November 2017: IPA scarves and more Lingthusiasm merch

The main Lingthusiasm episode was a deep dive into, around, and through the fascinating world of prepositions, and the bonus was about the tricky question of whether a burrito or an oreo is a sandwich. We also hit 100k listens in time for our first anniversary, and launched a line of lingthusiastic merch: scarves with the International Phonetic Alphabet on them, and mugs, shirts, totes and more that say NOT JUDGING YOUR GRAMMAR, JUST ANALYSING IT. Here’s why we made IPA scarves and why we made pro-descriptivist merch.

I didn’t get to NWAV46 in Madison, Wisconsin myself, but Jeff Lamontagne presented our coauthored poster about letter repetition on French twitter. I was quoted in this Business Insider article about new words in Words With Friends. I was also in this Planet Word Advisory Board crossword puzzle!

Had some fun on twitter with Christmas-themed rewrites of the William Carlos Williams plum meme poem: see hashtag #WilliamCarolsWilliams or follow the thread here. (A few ended up in Buzzfeed.)

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s image is my red IPA scarf which I took out for a cup of coffee with me!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-ve

October 2017: NYC trip, first Lingthusiasm interview, and Linguist Halloween

I went to New York City for a planning meeting of the Planet Word Advisory Board and to meet with my publisher. The details of both are top secret for now but will be really exciting once I can talk about them!

Lingthusiasm aired our very first interview episode: What Does it Mean to Sound Black? Intonation and Identity Interview with Nicole Holliday (transcript). The bonus episode was a recording of our Montreal impromptu liveshow about like, um, hark, and other discourse markers, so you can check that out on Patreon if you want to feel like you’re right there in a room of friendly Lingthusiasts!

We also ran a review and recommend campaign in order to reach 100k listens by our anniversary episode in November, so if you needed an excuse to start listening, get caught up, or recommend the podcast to anyone who needs some fun linguistics in their life, now would be a great time! (Since this post is going up a bit later than usual, I can say that we did in fact meet that goal and that you may also want to know about these IPA scarves now, rather than waiting until their official appearance in November’s news post!)

I did an interview with the Macquarie Dictionary podcast on doggo, and I was quoted in several blog posts on the Oxford Dictionaries blog, about doggo speak, birbspeak, and the history of animal meme lects.

I also updated my two linguistics grad school advice posts: Part I and Part II, and there was a Linguistics Jobs interview about a project manager a language tech company.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s featured images are some fun sketches I drew of schwa dressing up for Halloween (schwa-lloween), because, after all, it’s the spookiest vowel.

September 2017: Lingthusiasm liveshow, line edits on the book, and aliebn-speak

We had a Lingthusiasm liveshow at Argo Bookshop in Montreal, because my cohost Lauren Gawne was in town for a conference. We sold out the bookshop (in fact, we had to buy them a couple extra chairs!). It was great to meet so many new listeners and to introduce Lauren to friends I already know! If you missed out on the liveshow due to the vicissitudes of geography, you can now listen to it online: So like, what’s up with, um, discourse markers? Hark, a liveshow!

This month’s Lingthusiasm main episode was about sounds you can’t hear – babies, accents, and phonemes, and the bonus is about linguistic research and how to become the go-to person among your friends for language questions. We also made a snazzier website for the podcast.

Book update: I’ve progressed into line edits for my book on internet language. (Not sure what line edits are? I’m really happy with the metaphor I came up with to explain them.)

I was interviewed in an episode of the World in Words about “aliebn-speak” or the linguistic style of jomny sun.

I was also interviewed on the Macquarie Dictionary podcast about the history of singular “they” and how “language is an open source project”.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

Here’s a photo from the liveshow at Argo Bookshop!

lingthusiasm liveshow argo