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:

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

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

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.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

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

December 2018: BECAUSE INTERNET preorders, Adelaide, Spain, and the most phonetic restaurant name

The preorder link for my book went up this month! You can now preorder Because Internet as a delightful surprise for your future self and to let the publisher know that people are interested in internet linguistics, either online by following the links here or by contacting your local indie bookstore. (Want a hint of what’s inside? Today in Things I Tell My Copyeditor: “stet, this is a Unicode joke”)

The Lingthusiasm main episode was about words for family relationships, or kinship terms, and the bonus episode was a behind the scenes Q&A episode where we answered your questions about the shape of the ear, very old words, and more. (The Q&A is also available as a special video episode for patrons!)

I finished my trip to Australia with a visit to Adelaide for the annual meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society, where I did a workshop on linguistics communication (#lingcomm).

I then ended the year in Spain!

I started a personal/professional instagram account, so if your instagram feed needs more linguistics in it, you can now follow @gretchen.mcculloch there.

I posted my year in review blog post on All Things Linguistic (and a tongue-in-cheek year in review tweet).

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s photo is from Adelaide, where a group of linguists naturally chose to have dinner at the restaurant with the most, er, phonetic name.

phonatic restaurant adelaide

 

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

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

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

April 2018: Tree diagram scarves and Prodigal Tongue livetweet

We launched a new round of linguistics-themed merch on Lingthusiasm: scarves with a subtle tree diagram print, and t-shirts and other items that say Heck Yeah Descriptivism and Heck Yeah Language Change. Plus, the IPA scarves in more colours: teal, grey, black, and pale pink. For more pictures and to order.

This month’s Lingthusiasm main episode was about Sentences with baggage: Presuppositions and the bonus episode was about Roses are red and other connections between poems and memes.

I tweeted my way through The Prodigal Tongue: Lynne Murphy’s new book about British vs American English (twitter thread version, blog post version)

I gave a talk at McGill about careers in linguistics: slides.

I put up again my semi-annual call for papers and student work about internet linguistics!

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

Here’s a photo of one of the new tree diagram scarves, in cream, hanging out on a tree. CreamTreeTree10 cropped filtered

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 “2017 Year in Review”

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