My latest article for Wired is: Coding is for everyone — as long as you speak English. (I also made a Glitch remix of the first website for it). Here’s a quote from the article:
In theory, you can make a programming language out of any symbols. The computer doesn’t care. The computer is already running an invisible program (a compiler) to translate your IF orinto the 1s and 0s that it functions in, and it would function just as effectively if we used a potato emoji 🥔 to stand for IF and the obscure 15th century Cyrillic symbol multiocular O ꙮ to stand for. The fact that programming languages often resemble English words like body or if is a convenient accommodation for our puny human meatbrains, which are much better at remembering commands that look like words we already know.
But only some of us already know the words of these commands: those of us who speak English.
This month’s Lingthusiasm main episode was an interview with Ake Nicholas about making pop culture resources to get kids excited about Cook Islands Māori (transcript), and the bonus episode was about how radio announcers know how to pronounce all the names (an interview with Tiger Webb from our Sydney liveshow).
In news about my book, an early review of Because Internet said that “me reading this was basically galaxy brain” (<3) and I was quoted in this article in The Cut, talking about the importance of linguistic styleshifting.
I started getting ready to record the Because Internet audiobook (which I’m doing myself!), updated my cover photo to include the book and got an idea for how to sign people’s copies. I also compiled my best memes and behind-the-scenes bits about Because Internet so far into a convenient twitter moment.
In other books (specifically lingfic), I tweeted assorted thoughts about the linguistic worldbuilding in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and its sequels (thread).
Somehow I got namechecked in the hovertext of an SMBC comic, so that’s a lifegoal accomplished that I never knew I had.
- Whan That Aprille Day, the best April 1 holiday
- New favourite word: apricity
- Archive of Our Own is impressive (thread)
- The ellipsis generation gap
- Expanding my shruggie inventory
- Nose-smilies for professional joking purposes
- I feel your…bread emoji and other cross-lingual typing amusements
- PSA: you can now get the International Phonetic Alphabet in Gboard
- Evolutions in internet animal language style: bamboozle
- Symbols of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) as brands of IPA (India Pale Ale), a thread
- grammar of wug (uwu)
Selected blog posts:
- How to type the International Phonetic Alphabet on your phone (iOS or Android), newly updated
- “It’s a very emotional experience” : Indigenous millennials share their stories of language reclamation
- A paper about how people with synesthesia map colours onto vowels
- A video from Vox about why some Asian accents swap L and R in English
- Historical English dialect differences: eggs and eyren
- Symbols of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) as brands of IPA (India Pale Ale): a thread
- Linguistic prescriptivists make terrible zoologists
- grammar of wug
- An animation of what it’s like to have dyslexia
- Linguistics jobs: interview with a lexicographer (Jane Solomon on the publication of her book, The Dictionary of Difficult Words)
This month’s image is one of my fancy new social media cover photos featuring Because Internet!