July 2019: Because Internet is published and makes the NYT Bestseller list!

There was a New York Times Daily review of Because Internet (paper version!). Here’s one of the very nice things that reviewer Jennifer Szalai had to say about it:

McCulloch is such a disarming writer — lucid, friendly, unequivocally excited about her subject — that I began to marvel at the flexibility of the online language she describes, with its numerous shades of subtlety.

There was also SO MUCH other media about the book, including reviews in Time, the Economist, The New Yorker, and more; excerpts or interviews in Wired, Slate, Vox, Salon, Vice, and more; and interviews on NPR All Things Considered and Science Friday, Slate’s Lexicon Valley, Grammar Girl, The Allusionist and the Cracked Podcast, just to pick a few. (Full list with hyperlinks below.) A great little ad also ran next to the NYT crossword puzzle in the print edition (photo).

As if that weren’t enough, Because Internet also hit the New York Times bestseller list at #9 in its first week! Huge, huge thanks to everyone who preordered it and bought it during the first week which made this happen.

I did a book launch party in Montreal with Argo Bookshop at the Atwater Library! I was especially excited about the cake with the cover of my book on it which allowed me to literally eat my words and the internet-themed youtube playlist that twitter helped us put together to project on a screen during the party. Many thanks to all the people who attended!

I did a collaboration with youtuber Tom Scott! The first video in this new round of Language Files videos is “why typing like this is sometimes okay.” and is directly based on Chapter 4 of Because Internet! Stay tuned for more Language Files videos with Tom and our new collaborator Molly Ruhl in future months.

Everything is also coming up Because Internet on Lingthusiasm! Our main episode was about the connections between gesture and emoji, aka the behind the scenes story of the part of the book where my podcast cohost Lauren Gawne makes a cameo! The bonus episode was about familects, not the book, but we also released a Special Offer on Patreon to get signed bookplate stickers. Our academic paper about emoji as digital gesture in the journal Language@Internet also came out this month, and Lauren wrote an accessible summary version of it for The Conversation which got picked up by Quartz. (We were very pleased to have to disclose that our Lingthusiasm patrons helped fund this research.) Also, I now have an Erdős number.

When people ask what it’s like to have this book I’ve been working on for five years finally come out, the best analogy that I can think of is that it’s like having it constantly be my birthday for the past several weeks: I’ve been hearing from so many people from all corners of my life who are excited to have spotted BECAUSE INTERNET in their local bookstore or library, or to have heard me on the radio or their favourite podcast. I haven’t always been able to reply to everyone individually, but I truly appreciate how many communities have claimed this book’s success as their own.

In non-book-related news, I also went to California to do a linguistics outreach event at the LSA Summer Institute in UC Davis, consisting of a lingwiki Wikipedia editathon focussing on articles about underrepresented languages in the afternoon, and in the evening doing a talk about effective communication of linguistics to a general audience and MCing the 3 Minute Thesis event. (A thread from an interesting talk I attended on language tech.)

Here is the truly staggering media list just for July alone for Because Internet, all 65 (!) items:

National Radio

National Print/Top Online

Newsletters:

Podcasts:

Local Print/Online/Radio:

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This month’s photo is real paper proof that Because Internet made the New York Times Bestseller list! because internet nyt bestseller list with emoji.jpg

April 2019: Coding in English and new Because Internet cover photos

My latest article for Wired is: Coding is for everyone — as long as you speak English. (I also made a Glitch remix of the first website for it). Here’s a quote from the article:

In theory, you can make a programming language out of any symbols. The computer doesn’t care. The computer is already running an invisible program (a compiler) to translate your IF orinto the 1s and 0s that it functions in, and it would function just as effectively if we used a potato emoji 🥔 to stand for IF and the obscure 15th century Cyrillic symbol multiocular O ꙮ to stand for. The fact that programming languages often resemble English words like body or if is a convenient accommodation for our puny human meatbrains, which are much better at remembering commands that look like words we already know.

But only some of us already know the words of these commands: those of us who speak English.

This month’s Lingthusiasm main episode was an interview with Ake Nicholas about making pop culture resources to get kids excited about Cook Islands Māori (transcript), and the bonus episode was about how radio announcers know how to pronounce all the names (an interview with Tiger Webb from our Sydney liveshow).

In news about my book, an early review of Because Internet said that “me reading this was basically galaxy brain” (<3) and I was quoted in this article in The Cut, talking about the importance of linguistic styleshifting.

I started getting ready to record the Because Internet audiobook (which I’m doing myself!), updated my cover photo to include the book and got an idea for how to sign people’s copies. I also compiled my best memes and behind-the-scenes bits about Because Internet so far into a convenient twitter moment.

In other books (specifically lingfic), I tweeted assorted thoughts about the linguistic worldbuilding in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and its sequels (thread).

Somehow I got namechecked in the hovertext of an SMBC comic, so that’s a lifegoal accomplished that I never knew I had.

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This month’s image is one of my fancy new social media cover photos featuring Because Internet!

BecauseInternet_FacebookCover_cropped

March 2019: Gesture video for Lingthusiasm, #BAHfest, and BECAUSE INTERNET in the mail

I gave a humorous speech at the Bad Ad-hoc Hypothesis fest (BAHfest MIT) about the very logical (!) reasons to make English spelling less logical. I’m told that there will be video eventually — for now, my slides are here.

This month’s Lingthusiasm episode was about why we gesture when we talk, and we also made it available as our very first video episode so you can see the gestures! Many thanks to our Patreon supporters who enabled us to experiment with video! The bonus episode was Do you adjust the way you talk to match other people? Linguistic Accommodation with special guest our producer Claire Gawne.

I was quoted in articles about the xx email signoff in the New York Times, about the origin of the word “emoji” in Science Friday (NPR), and about business speak and corporate jargon for the BBC.

I was a guest on Spirits Podcast, a boozy podcast about myths and legends, talking about names and folklore! I also judged A Word A Day’s 25th anniversary pangram contest (the winner? “Emoji having been popularized, texts acquire wacky faces.”)

I livetweeted my thoughts on The Raven Tower, a new novel by Ann Leckie that has many cool linguistic worldbuilding elements!

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This month’s photo is of an advance copy of BECAUSE INTERNET arriving at reviewers, along with a printed-out tweet on the package!

because internet with envelope tweet

February 2019: Predictive text meme in Wired and galleys of Because Internet

My latest Wired article is about the appeal of the predictive text meme: we’ve gone from Damn You Autocorrect to treating the strip of three predicted words as a sort of wacky but charming oracle. Plus: I’ve officially got a Wired author sketch now!

I was also quoted in the Huffington Post about how we use okay vs ok vs k in workplace communication and profiled in Stylist France magazine (print, in French).

In Because Internet news, I tweeted some novelty brand twitter accounts about my book, and some of them actually replied! I also made an emoji version of the Because Internet cover ✨, and there’s now a Goodreads page for Because Internet and for me as an author, if you’d like to register your interest in structured data format!

The latest Lingthusiasm main episode was about a new metaphor for verbs and sentences: the verb is the coat rack which the rest of the sentence hangs on (transcript). I also did a lingcomm meta thread about how we go about making a “technical topic explained in a nontechnical way” episode like this. The bonus episode was about how the internet is making English better — it’s a live recording from our Melbourne show, so you can feel like you’re in a friendly group of lingthusiasts from the comfort of your own couch!

I also updated my website, including a shiny new theme, a more detailed page for the book, a bio page, and an updated contact page.

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This month’s photo is of a bound galley copy of BECAUSE INTERNET — the first time I got to see my book looking like a real book! The inside still has some minor typos and other revisions, but this is the version that will be sent out to reviewers so that reviews can come out at the same time as the book in July.

because internet galley in front of a plant.jpg

November 2018: Book title (BECAUSE INTERNET), Lingthusiasm liveshows, PatreCon, CoEDL, and more Australia talks

My book about internet language officially has a title and publication date! Look for BECAUSE INTERNET: UNDERSTANDING THE NEW RULES OF LANGUAGE in July 2019, and you can put your email address here if you want to get a link when it’s available.

My second Wired column went up: Why do some mid-sized languages, like Swedish, have extensive internet resources, while others with the same or larger speaker populations do not?

I’ve spent most of this month in Australia! (I did stop by PatreCon, a conference for Patreon creators, on my way.) Here’s a thread of linguistic reflections on being a Canadian in Australia.

We did our long-anticipated Lingthusiasm liveshows in Sydney and Melbourne! It was amazing to meet so many old and new fans of the show and compare notes on Australianisms, Canadianisms, and how people talk on the internet. The liveshow recording will be up in a few months for the rest of the world.

The main Lingthusiasm episode was about why C and G come in hard and soft versions, and more about palatal sounds, and the bonus episode was an inside view into academic conferences and how to have a good time at them. The Lingthusiasm merch is now finalized for the season, so you can order it for the holidays with confidence!

I also went to Canberra for the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) Summer School, where I gave a public lecture on internet linguistics and taught a class on linguistics communication (see course notes and readings on the @LingComm twitter account). A few tweets from talks, plus threads about the Linguistics Roadshow and linguistics escape rooms.

I also did talks at University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, and Monash University, and radio interviews on ABC Melbourne and ABC Canberra.

I also did a short thread about An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

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This month’s photo is a shot of the table where Lauren Gawne and I were preparing for the Lingthusiasm liveshow, complete with Real Australian Flat Whites! table lingthusiasm liveshow prep flat whites melbourne.jpg

October 2018: Wired Resident Linguist, Scintillation, #AoIR2018, and Lingthusiasm’s second anniversary

I’ve started writing a Resident Linguist column for Wired! My first article is about Voldemorting, birdsite, The Cheeto, and other ways of hiding words in plain sight online.

I was in this video on NBC about teen slang and this article about “ish” in work emails.

I attended Scintillation, where I was on panels about linguistic worldbuilding and the future of English in science fiction, and the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) conferences, both in Montreal.

The Lingthusiasm main episode was about how Every word is a real word and the bonus episode was about bringing up bilingual babies. (Lingthusiasm is now also officially on Spotify.)

It’s our second anniversary of Lingthusiasm! To celebrate, we’re trying to help the show reach more people by encouraging current listeners to give us a shoutout on social media. Here’s a helpful roundup post with links to all the current episodes that you can share, and we’ll thank everyone who recommends us in a special anniversary post!

I livetweeted the linguistics bits from the new book HOW TO INVENT EVERYTHING as well as a short thread about linguistics aspects of Salt Fat Acid Heat.

Many great linguistics Halloween costumes.

At the end of the month, I head to PatreCon and Australia! Here’s my Australia conferences and talks schedule.

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This month’s image is the new Space Baby art from Lingthusiasm, which is available as a poster, art print, scarf, stickers and more!

space babies bookshelfie

August 2018: #LangFest18, Instagram, and Mastodon

I attended LangFest in Montreal, a conference for polyglots and language fans. See my livetweets from #LangFest18 here.

I was on KPCC AirTalk (LA’s NPR affiliate) talking about the exclamation point in text messaging.

The Lingthusiasm main episode was about When nothing means something (transcript) and the bonus episode was a behind the scenes look at several recent conferences: emoji, gesture, and the International Congress of Linguists.

I started fact-checking a book about emoji and the book was so hilaribad it turned into a thread-review (blog post summary).

I’ve started updating the instagram for All Things Linguistic more regularly! Go check it out if your instagram feed needs more interesting linguistics posts in it.

I’m also experimenting with Mastodon. You can follow me here as a person, or here for a daily linguistics post from All Things Linguistic.

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This month’s photo is from July, when I was in Boston and paid a trip to the linguistics section of the MIT libraries. linguistics section MIT libraries bookshelfie.jpg

June 2018: #Emoji2018 in San Francisco and multiple exclamation marks!!!

I went to the Emoji2018 workshop at Stanford and presented a paper by me and Lauren Gawne on Emoji Grammar as Beat Gestures – livetweets here, including threads of talks by Tyler Schnoebelen, Susan Herring, and a panel, and read our paper/check out our slides here.

I was in this Wired article about Emoji2018 and this Atlantic article about Multiple exclamation marks in internet speak!!!

The main Lingthusiasm episode was What words sound spiky across languages? Interview with Suzy Styles and the bonus was about Forensic Linguistics. We also made the IPA scarves available in rainbow, by popular request!

I also did a crossover episode with a podcast called Wah Wonders Why, about What if there was no moon?

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This month’s photo is the language section at Book Passage from when I was in San Francisco for Emoji2018.  Maker:S,Date:2017-11-21,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Top posts from 6 years of All Things Linguistic

Cross posted from All Things Linguistic

It’s my six year blogiversary! Wow! Let’s celebrate by looking back at some of my favourite posts from the past year:

Articles and talks

I taught a session on communicating linguistics (LingComm) at Lingstitute, the linguistic summer institute of the LSA. Here’s my course summaries:

Advice and lists

Linguistics jobs

Games

Ambiguity

Things about languages

Language activism

Linguistics baked goods and other handmade items

Memes

Linguist humour

Internet linguistics

Podcast

Lingthusiasm, a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics, entered its second year! Myself and Lauren Gawne of @superlinguo released the following main episodes this past year:

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
16. Learning parts of words: Morphemes and the wug test
17. Vowel gymnastics
18. Translating the untranslatable
19. Sentences with baggage: Presuppositions
20. Speaking Australian and Canadian English in an American/British binary

We also had a full year of bonus episodes:

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
11. We are all linguistic geniuses: Interview with Daniel Midgley of Talk the Talk
12. Creating languages for fun and learning
13. The grammar of swearing
14. The Poetry of Memes: Roses are red in the icebox
15. What you should know if you’re considering applying to linguistics grad school

We also released Lingthusiasm merchscarves with a subtle International Phonetic Alphabet or tree diagram print on them, plus various items that say NOT JUDGING YOUR GRAMMAR, JUST ANALYSING IT, Heck Yeah Descriptivism, or Heck Yeah Language Change.

Book

I did a lot of behind the scenes writing on my upcoming book in defense of internet language for Riverhead at Penguin. I wrote an update post about the revision process here.

We’re getting close to the “exciting updates” stage for the book, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss things like the official title and publication date, preorder links, and what the cover looks like, you can sign up to receive very occasional book update emails here.

Haven’t been with me this whole time? You can see my favourite posts of year oneyear twoyear threeyear four, and year five. For shorter updates, follow me on twitter as a person or as All Things Linguistic, or for a monthly newsletter with highlights, subscribe at my website.

May 2018: Babel interview, meme culture, and a teal tree scarf

I did an interview with Babel Magazine about Lingthusiasm with Lauren Gawne for their Meet the Professionals series.

I was also interviewed for an article about How Star Trek: The Next Generation predicted meme culture in Twin Cities Geek.

The main Lingthusiasm episode this month was about speaking Canadian and Australian English and the book the Prodigal Tongue about British and American national varieties of English, and the bonus episode about what you should know if you’re thinking about applying to linguistics grad school. We also announced the artist for art goal, new video episode goals, and posted a quote about the connection between first, second and minute, second.

I did social media for the McGill Symposium on Indigenous Languages: see the Twitter Moment summarizing the livetweeting here.

It was my 6-year blogiversary on All Things Linguistic! Here’s a link roundup of my favourite posts from the past year.

I archived my livetweets of several linguistically interesting books from Storify, since it was shutting down, into Twitter Moments:

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This month’s featured image is the teal tree diagram scarf (prototype version: see the cream scarf for the updated size of the diagrams) hanging out in a yellow forsythia bush.

Maker:S,Date:2017-11-21,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y