February 2018: Archive of A Linguist Explains from The Toast

While The Toast is sorting out their website situation, I’ve archived my Toast articles here as a folder of pdfs. I’ve gotten a couple requests for A Linguist Explains The Rules for Summoning Benedict Cumberbatch and A Linguist Explains The Grammar of Doge especially, so now they’re all available! (Also, apparently The Toast is going to be archived in the Library of Congress now, so that’s cool.)

I was referenced in this post on Boing Boing by Clive Thompson.

Our Lingthusiasm main episode was about vowel gymnastics and the bonus episode was about constructed languages (conlangs). Here’s a thread about people ordering custom coloured scarves, and we also made a teaching page with the episodes sorted by topic. We’ve been hearing from several people using Lingthusiasm in their classes, which is exciting!

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This month’s image is a photo of a restaurant sign that I took in Halifax when I was there in December. Someone involved in this restaurant knows their IPA!

mung restaurant IPA sign

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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.

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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

December 2017: Full-length bonus episodes and 100k listens on Lingthusiasm

This month’s Lingthusiasm episode was #15: Talking and thinking about time and the bonus was the Q&A from our liveshow in Montreal. We have dubbed it the liveshow Q and eh because the first question is about Canadian “eh” but we also answer other questions!

Thanks to everyone who supported Lingthusiasm’s anniversary by recommending the show: full length bonus episodes started this month! We also announced that we’re adding a new goal to the Patreon: to commission art of a memorable part of Lingthusiasm and make it available for listeners!

We’ve been enjoying seeing pictures of everyone’s IPA scarves and NOT JUDGING YOUR GRAMMAR, JUST ANALYSING IT items on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr! We’re planning a group photo with everyone wearing linguistics merch at the LSA conference in Salt Lake City, just before the Word of the Year vote. We’re also going to compile a collage of everyone’s photos that get sent in!

I was also quoted in this Vox explainer of the Mr. Brightside meme.

I posted my 2017 highlights post on All Things Linguistic if you want a glimpse back on the year.

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This month’s featured image is all three colours of IPA scarf, red, navy, and olive, together at last!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-ve

Three scarves with International Phonetic Alphabet pattern in white letters on red, navy, olive

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.

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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”.

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Here’s a photo from the liveshow at Argo Bookshop!

lingthusiasm liveshow argo

August 2017: #SpaceWitchCon, Planet Word beginnings, Al Jazeera TV & your ability to even

I went from Lingstitute to Washington DC, where I did some internet linguistic consulting work, and met up with some DC linguists, including Ann Friedman and several members of the Planet Word Advisory Board, which I am now on as well! I’m excited to be getting involved with this project to create a linguistics museum.

I then went to SpaceWitchCon, in the woods of North Carolina, where I ran a very fun session about internet linguistics (and also did a lot of singalongs and crafting and other excellent nerdery).

Later in the month, I was on live TV with Al Jazeera’s The Stream, talking about emoji (watch here), and a post of mine, about how to talk with your academic heroes and other people you admire, was featured on Thesis Whisperer.

This month’s Lingthusiasm episode was about Layers of meaning: Cooperation, humour, and Gricean Maxims, and the bonus episode was about language play. We also reached our Patreon interview goal, so you can look forward to hearing guest linguists on Lingthusiasm shortly!

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This month’s photo is a sign from SpaceWitch: the rooms were divided into even and odd sections, so I took this picture for those times when you can’t even anymore: here’s some even!

for when you can no longer even.jpg

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:

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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