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

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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

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

July 2017: teaching #LingComm class, attending #lingstitute, and a crochet wug

This month, I was quoted in this New York Times article about how we type laughter online.

The tenth Lingthusiasm episode went up, about learning languages linguistically, and the Patreon bonus was about hypercorrection.

I taught a four-week class on communicating linguistics or LingComm at the LSA institute in Lexington, Kentucky.  The day-to-day class notes can be found on the @LingComm twitter account and tweets from students on #lingcomm. Here’s a summary of 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

Also at the institute, I was on panels about careers in linguistics and implicit bias in linguistics and did a Wikipedia editathon. See the whole #lingstitute hashtag for livetweets from many people, but here’s a few threads of plenary talks I attended:

In August, I’m heading to SpaceWitchCon and giving an informal session about internet linguistics. Here’s the description.

Selected blog posts on All Things Linguistic:

Selected tweets:

This month’s image is a crochet wug that one of my lingcomm students made me. It is even cuter in person and lives with me now (d’aww). Stay tuned for further wugventures!

crochet wug.jpg

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

May 2017: covfefe, Lingthusiasm buttons, blogiversary, Canadian Linguistics Association, and dictionary makers

I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post: Herefefe is why it’s toughfefe to say “covfefe”, which was inspired by a twitter thread of mine that became massively popular and was picked up by the GuardianLongreads, and El Pais (Spanish).

I moderated a panel about careers in linguistics at the annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistics Association, part of the Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Toronto.

It was my 5-year blogiversary! Here’s a list of some of my favourite posts on All Things Linguistic from the past year.

Episode 8 of Lingthusiasm was about People who make dictionaries, and contained our thoughts about Kory Stamper’s new book, Word by Word. We also posted a new Patreon bonus about selling your linguistics skills to employers, a follow-up Space Pidgin quote, and officially reached our sustainability goal on Patreon, so now we can start expanding!

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s featured image is from making a couple Lingthusiasm buttons at the Scholar’s Portal booth in the Congress Expo! Now I just need to get one of them to Lauren and find us an occasion to wear them…

lingthusiasm button making

March 2017: #SXSW Words panel, #ICLDC5 #lingwiki, Princeton talk, Lingthusiasm Patreon

Many talks and travel in March! I began the month in Hawai’i, where I ran several lingwiki editathons at the International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (#icldc5) and also got to attend the Hilo Field Study and learn about Hawaiian language revitalization.

I then headed directly to South by Southwest, where I moderated a panel called Word Curation: Dictionaries, Tech and the Future with Erin McKean (Wordnik), Jane Solomon (Dictionary.com), and Ben Zimmer (Wall Street Journal).  We also stayed in a house together and played word games, and Erin, Jane, and I judged an emoji spelling bee organized by Jenny 8 Lee and other people from EmojiCon.

While the conferences themselves were very different, fortunately the weather in Hawai’i and Texas was very similar – warm and sometimes rainy!

My final talk of the month was at the Princeton linguistics department, where I gave a colloquium talk entitled How I Became An Internet Linguist. I also livetweeted Kory Stamper’s new book, Word by Word, and then got to hang out with her and several other cool lexicography people in NYC on the way to Princeton.

In the meantime, I was quoted in two articles in the New York Times, on Snapchat and phatic communication by Farhad Manjoo and on The communicative function of emoji (Gaymoji) in Grindr by Guy Trebay. The first episode of Lingthusiasm was also featured in NY Mag’s Science of Us and on #SciFriLive (Science Friday on NPR).

The sixth episode of Lingthusiasm came out, about the International Phonetic Alphabet. Listen to the episode on SoundCloud (or wherever you get your podcasts), read the transcript, or check out the links in the shownotes. My cohost Lauren Gawne and I also launched a Patreon to help keep the podcast growing, with a bonus episode about swearing and a video featuring a cameo from our producer.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s featured image is from playing word games at the words house at SXSW. This particular game is known as Codenames and it was great fun.

sxsw word game