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

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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

June 2017: Internet tilde, meme formatting, and doggo syntax

I was quoted in this article in NY Magazine: The Internet Tilde Perfectly Conveys Something We Don’t Have the Words to Explain. I was also in an episode of CBC Spark about digital tools revitalizing minority languages.

I spent a bunch of time behind the scenes working on the book: here’s an #amwriting tweet about meme formatting.

Lingthusiasm posted its ninth regular episode: The bridge between words and sentences – Constituency and a bonus episode about the linguistics of the doggo meme. I made a page about the podcast for this website and we put the Space Pidgin quote on Medium for easier reading. Lingthusiasm hit our equipment goal and bought a new recorder: here’s a picture of it!

I also announced a class twitter account @LingComm and class hashtag #lingcomm for the course on linguistics outreach/communicating linguistics that I’m teaching at the Linguistic Summer Institute (Lingstitute) in the month of July. Feel free to follow along!

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s featured image is a photo of the new linguistics section at Argo Bookshop in Montreal, which was just reopened by linguists Moti Lieberman and Adele-Elise Prevost, from when I went to their opening party this month.

argo linguistics

2016 Year in Review

Cross-posted from All Things Linguistic.

In 2016, I met Lauren Gawne of Superlinguo in person for the first time and by the end of the year, we’d created a podcast called Lingthusiasm. It’s a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics and you can listen to it on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play Music, YouTube or most other podcast apps via rss, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. We launched it with the first three episodes – stay tuned for more in 2017!

  1. Speaking a common language won’t lead to world peace
  2. Pronouns: singular “they”, other languages, and solving the gay fanfiction pronoun problem
  3. A lingthusiastic review of the alien linguistics movie Arrival

I also collaborated on two episodes of PBS Idea Channel with Mike Rugnetta:

All Things Linguistic turned four! I also got verified on twitter, which has not really changed anything, but here’s a reminder that you can follow me there as a person @GretchenAMcC or this blog at @AllThingsLing.

Articles

My article on teen girls as language disruptors, which I wrote for Quartz last year, was republished in a print textbook from Oxford University Press  called Making Sense of Language.

Book

I did a lot of behind the scenes writing on my upcoming book about internet language for Riverhead at Penguin. Here are the update posts so far:

  1. I’m writing a book about internet language!
  2. I have a (very rough) draft
  3. I talked with The Ringer about why I’m lowercasing “internet” in the book
  4. I have a full draft, with chapters and paragraphs

I also made an email list for book updates, if you’d like to make sure you don’t miss it on social media.

Talks

Outreach

Media

I did a lot of interviews, but here are some of my favourites:

Top blog posts of 2016 

Explanations

Language learning

Prescriptivism

Internet linguistics

Humour

Novel sentences & ambiguity

Languages

Arrival

It’s not often that linguist is the main character in a movie. Highlights:

Other books and movies:

Linguistics jobs

I restarted the linguistics jobs series, with the assistance of Elena Russo, and created a handy linguistics jobs overview page. New interviews:

Advice

Missed out on previous years? Here are the summary posts from 2013, 2014, and 2015. If you’d like to get a much shorter monthly highlights newsletter via email, you can sign up for that on my website.

November 2016: EmojiCon, Arrival movie, and language disruption in OUP

This month, I attended the first EmojiCon in San Francisco. I gave a talk about the mistake people make in assuming that emoji are a language, and three paralinguistic things that emoji do instead (in column form, and here’s a visualization of it), and met a lot of interesting people. You can see livetweets from the event at the #EmojiCon hashtag and I’m quoted in this article about it for TIME.

My article on teen girls as language disruptors, which I wrote for Quartz last year, was republished in a print textbook from Oxford University Press, Making Sense of Language, and my copy of the book finally arrived in the mail.

I revised and updated my annual guide for explaining linguistics to your friends and family this holiday season. See also: my archive of linguistmas posts and 2016 linguistics merch.

Like all linguists this month, I went and saw the linguistics sci fi movie Arrival. Here are a few comments from meanother linguist’s twitter threadlinguistics cut scenes from the screenwriter, and a full list of linguistics media coverage. I also wrote a guide to more linguistics for people who liked Arrival, which I cross-posted to Medium. (Plus: an Arrival recruitment poster and meme.)

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s image is a bunch of emoji-themed art by Yiying Lu from the exhibit at EmojiCon. I spent much of the conference deeply embedded in Unicode geekery but the art definitely makes a better photo.

img_20161112_134409

 

September 2016: Second book draft, #Wulf4Ham, linguistics jobs interviews

I hit a book milestone: I finished the second major draft! Details and sneak peaks into the writing process. I also made a central information page for the book.

I was quoted in two articles, That time when “That time when” took over the Internet (Washington Post) and the evolution of emoji from emoticons (Japan Times). I also storified the Beowulf/Hamilton crossover, #Wulf4Ham.

I restarted the series of interviews for the linguistics jobs series on All Things Linguistic, with the help of Elena Russo, and also created a handy linguistics jobs overview page. New interviews: with a book publicist, science fiction writer, and policy analyst.

I’m currently heading to Dawn or Doom, a conference at Purdue University about technology and culture, where I’ll be giving a talk about the linguistics of emoji, so you can keep an eye on #DawnOrDoom for livetweets! I also announced this month that I’ll be giving a workshop at EmojiCon in November in the Bay Area.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s bookshelfie is a photo I took when I stopped in Reykjavik briefly on my way back from the UK in May. Mál og Menning didn’t have much of a linguistics section, but the balcony and hanging bird cutouts were charming anyway.

reykjavik-bookshelfie