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.



January 2016: LSA in DC, Explaining linguistics talks, Star Wars, twitter advice

I gave two talks in Washington DC, one at the LSA sister society meeting of The Association for Linguistic Evidence about explaining linguistics for forensic linguists (slides at and one at Georgetown about Writing, Talking, and Working Linguistics (slides at

In the leadup to the LSA, I posted this advice post on how to “get” twitter. Also at the LSA annual meeting in DC, I held a #lingwiki Wikipedia editathon (see the report on articles edited) and did the LSA’s public relations for the weekend, including liaising with media attendees and running social media on the @LingSocAm twitter account with LSA intern Kat Starcevic. I’d also recommend checking out John Rickford’s LSA presidential address about linguistic injustice in the courtroom (in video and livetweet form).

I was quoted in several articles:

I also watched the new Star Wars movie and storified some thoughts that I and other twitter people had about how the languages make sense (spoiler: they don’t, really).

Selected blog posts:

Here’s a photo I took of the linguistics section at Second Story Books in DC:

second story books dc