I’ve been interested in linguistics since early high school, and I give back by helping academic linguists learn how to communicate better with broader audiences and by creating resources for current “protolinguists”: high school students who would like to learn more about linguistics.
I did a week-long intensive lingcomm class at the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) summer institute in Canberra, Australia in November 2018 and an afternoon workshop at the annual meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society (ALS) in December 2018.
I taught a four-week lingcomm class at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) summer institute in Lexington, Kentucky in July 2017. Here’s a summary of 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’ve done LingComm talks and workshops at the following universities:
- Australian Linguistics Society annual meeting, Adelaide, December 2018
- Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language summer school, Australian National University, Canberra, November 2018
- Linguistic Summer Institute, University of Kentucky, Lexington, July 2017 (class notes on my blog)
- University of Kent, Cambridge, UK, May 2016 (bit.ly/explainling-kent)
- SOAS, London, May 2016
- University of Edinburgh, May 2016
- 25th Annual Linguistics Symposium at Cal State Fullerton (keynote)
- Georgetown University, Washington D.C., January 2016
- University of Ottawa, November 2015
- University of Toronto, November 2015
I’ve also judged the Linguistic Society of America’s Five-Minute Linguist competition: lively and engaging talks by linguists for the general public, 2017, 2018, 2019.
I organize edit-a-thons (workshops to improve the linguistics-related articles on Wikipedia) under the hashtag #lingwiki regularly since 2015.
- How-to slides (CC-BY): bit.ly/lingwiki (in French: bit.ly/lingwikifr. In Spanish: bit.ly/lingwikies)
- How to participate in lingwiki even if you’re not there in person
- How to guide your linguistics class in editing Wikipedia: bit.ly/lingwikiclass
- Linguistics stub sorting guide: bit.ly/wugsorting
- My Wikipedia user page, including links to the reports on the dozen+ lingwiki editathons that I’ve organized so far
I collaborated on two episode of PBS Idea Channel with Mike Rugnetta, which you can watch below:
I’ve co-written a series of Language Files videos with YouTuber Tom Scott, which you can watch below:
Of particular note is “why typing like this is sometimes okay.” which is based on my book, BECAUSE INTERNET
Internet linguistics: Why online language matters. Public Lecture at the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language summer school, Canberra, Australia. November 2018.
Linguistics in the Public Ear: Outreach via Podcasts and Radio. Panel that I organized at the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah. January 2018. I also co-presented a talk on this panel about Lingthusiasm, with my cohost Lauren Gawne. More about the panel.
Wayyy Longgg: Orthotactics and Phonology in Lengthening on Twitter. With Jeff Lamontagne at the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting, Austin, Texas, January 2017. Slides at bit.ly/longggg
Stumbling into Linguistics: Blogs and Wikipedia. Talk on a panel about Getting High Schoolers into Linguistics, which I also co-organized. Linguistic Society of America annual meeting, Austin, Texas. January 2017. My slides at bit.ly/lingwiki-lsa2017
Calling All #Tumblinguists. On panel Linguistics Outreach via Online Media, Linguistics Society of America (LSA) annual meeting, Portland, OR. January 2015.
I also ran a series with advice for protolinguists. Selected posts:
- Protolinguist Master Post
- Protolinguistics: 6 ways to do linguistics in high school
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself phonetics/phonology
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself morphology
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself syntax
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself semantics
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself corpus linguistics
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself experimental linguistics
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself descriptive grammar
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself philosophy of language and linguistic anthropology
General teaching resources from my blog:
- How to draw syntax trees (8-part series)
- How to explain linguistics to your friends and family
- On writing an IB extended essay in linguistics (& follow-up)
- What is language? 8 myths about language and linguistics
- 28 tips for doing better in your Intro Linguistics course
- Why Learn Semantics: Comebacks to annoying people
- Practising syntax trees using cards & string
- Teaching phonetics with lollipops and with fire
- Matrix Clauses
- Phonological Natural Classes and Set Theory
- Say Aaaaahh: Fun with vowels
- IPA Bingo
- How to make your own IPA Scrabble set
- What is LaTeX and why do linguists love it? (includes starter documents to download and edit)
In July 2014, I taught two linguistics courses to 9-14 year olds at Explorations, a Montreal summer day camp for nerdy kids. I wrote summary blog posts each week with the activities we did and some reflections on the experience, as a resource for future linguistics activities with high schoolers and younger.
- How Does Language Work? week 1
- How Does Language Work? week 2
- Make Your Own Language, week 3
- Make Your Own Language, week 4
The #lingwiki editathons build from a crowdsourced linguistics project that I organized in summer 2014 to improve the linguistics-explaining resources online. The three organizational posts with the plans and summary of the series are here:
- Crowdsourced Linguistics Part 1: What linguistics terms do you still have trouble with?
- Crowdsourced Linguistics Part 2: What linguistics terms can you help explain?
- Crowdsourced Linguistics Part 3: Summary and future editathons
I’d also like to highlight a few of the more in-depth explanations that people wrote:
In April 2014, I taught an introduction to linguistics course with particular focus on Mi’gmaq as part of the Bachelor of Community Studies (BACS) joint program between Cape Breton University and Listuguj First Nation. The course was a month-long intensive course equivalent to a single semester (3 credit) course. I did not summarize the course online, but do see a series of blog posts I did at migmaq.org as an introduction to Algonquianist terminology especially with respect to Mi’gmaq (parts one, two, three, four and five) and feel free to contact me if you’re thinking of doing something similar. See also my MA thesis and wiki.migmaq.org for more on the grammar of Mi’gmaq.
McCulloch, Gretchen. 2014. Modal Indefinites in Mi’gmaq: What do we mean by ‘Random’? Presented at the Semantics of Underrepresented Languages of the Americas (SULA 8), Vancouver, BC.
McCulloch, Gretchen. 2014. Mi’gmaq -asi as a Middle Voice Head. Presented at the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) annual meeting, Minneapolis, MN.
McCulloch, Gretchen. 2013. Verb Stem Composition in Mi’gmaq. MA Thesis, McGill University.
McCulloch, Gretchen. 2013. Mi’gmaq –asi as a middle voice marker. Presented at the 45th Algonquian Conference, Ottawa, ON.
McCulloch, Gretchen. 2013. Finals in Mi’gmaq. Poster at the Canadian Linguistics Association (CLA) annual meeting, Victoria, BC.