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.

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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.

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reykjavik-bookshelfie

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

gullivers fairbanks bikes

June 2016: Old English & Emoji on The Toast, #lingwiki at #CoLang2016 in Alaska

In June, I had two new articles that I wrote go up on The Toast before it closed:

I’m sad to say goodbye to The Toast, but was rather amused to notice that I now get a very oblique claim to fame: my last article seems is up on the front page in perpetuity, alongside Hillary Clinton.

I did an interview with The Ringer about the AP Stylebook’s decision to lowercase “internet”, which turned into a sneak peak from my book proposal and why I’d always intended to keep internet lowercase in the book.

Other media:

I spent the latter two weeks of June in Fairbanks, Alaska, at CoLang, the Institute on Collaborative Language Research, where I co-taught a weeklong mini-course on Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages with the fantabulous Lauren Gawne (aka Superlinguo).

I also found out that I’m officially going to be teaching a course about linguistics outreach at the 2017 Linguistic Summer Institute (Lingstitute).

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts from All Things Linguistic:

This month’s bookshelfie was taken at Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks, Alaska. It didn’t have a proper linguistics section, but it was still a lovely bookstore, so here’s the languages section and some bikeshare Fairbikes with books outside.

 

last bookstore LA art

April 2016: California talks, book rough draft, Idea Channel & Science Friday on emoji

 

I took a trip to California! I gave a keynote address at the 25th annual CSU Fullerton Linguistic Symposium (my slides at bit.ly/explainling-fullerton). A few days later, I went into the offices of Dictionary.com and gave a talk in conversation with Jane Solomon. You can hear an audio excerpt here, where I talk about the idea of an “internet era” of English. (If you want to see some non-linguistic updates  from California, mostly food pics, you can check out my instagram.)

I hit a book milestone: 100k words of a (very rough) draft. You can see a celebratory screencap and read a few thoughts about the writing process. I also made an email mailing list specifically for very occasional book updates, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss any important internet language book news on social media, you can sign up for that here.

I collaborated on an episode of PBS Idea Channel about emoji with Mike Rugnetta:

I was also on NPR with a live interview on Science Friday, talking about the recent study finding that many emoji get misinterpreted, especially 😁, with the study’s lead author Hannah Miller. You can listen to the interview on souncloud.

In other media, I’m quoted in a Daily Dot article about the “snek” meme, a Daily Dot article about dialects of internet communities, and a BBC Future article about why we’re talking differently about the web/internet/cyberspace.

Selected blog posts:

Here’s my favourite tweet of the month:

Photos are from the Last Bookstore in LA, which has an ordinary-looking linguistics section but and then some gorgeous book art. 😍😍😍

Agenda for May: Scotland!

wug cookies laura beaudin

December 2015: Book announced, singular “they” for WotY, expletive infixation, and wug cookies

This month, I announced that I’m working on a book about internet language! I’ve signed a publishing deal with Riverhead, a division of Penguin – stay tuned for more information on title, publication date, book cover, and so on once I have it.

I wrote an article for Quartz, nominating singular “they” for Word of the Year 2015 – we’ll see how it goes when I’m at the official American Dialect Society vote in January!

I also wrote two posts about expletive infixation for Strong Language, on why you can’t say “abso-jesus-lutely” or “abso-hallelujah-lutely“.

I was quoted in Wired talking about the tears of joy emoji which was Oxford’s Word of the Year, as well as in Slate by Ben Zimmer talking about Bob Dylan’s use of “can’t even”, which was picked up in The Atlantic as Did Bob Dylan Invent Millennial Catchphrase “I Can’t Even”?  I also did interviews with Digiday and the LA Times.  I did an interview about emoticons, emoji, and other linguistic trends on the live podcast The Geekly Chronicles.

My articles appeared on several roundup lists of best posts, including my grammar of shipping piece on The Toast’s 2015 list, and my grammar of doge and syntax of fuck pieces on The Electric Typewriter’s 2014+2015 list.

I published my grant report for the Inspire grant I got from Wikimedia to run six linguistics Wikipedia editathons at conferences in 2015. Including both Wikimedia-sponsored and non-sponsored grants, I ran 10 #lingwiki editathons in 2015, in which over 200 articles were created or edited by over 200 linguists.

As usual, at the beginning of January, I’m headed to the LSA annual meeting in Washington DC, where I’ll be livetweeting, attending the Word of the Year vote, and running an editathon. New this year, I’ll also be doing PR for the LSA at the meeting, so you can catch me on the LSA’s official Twitter account in addition to my own (and, of course, in person). I’ll also be sticking around afterwards to give a talk about explaining linguistics at Georgetown.

On All Things Linguistic, I posted a 2015 year in review post. Here are a few other highlights from this month:

The photo is some delicious-looking wug cookies which Laura Beaudin made for a bake sale at the McMaster Linguistics Society and later tweeted at me for the linguistics baked goods file.

wug cookies laura beaudin