I’m quoted in a
New York Times Wordplay piece about ending texts with a period. Now that Because Internet has been out for two years, I can attest that people have successfully used it as a way of opening up cross-generational conversations about changing texting norms.
Gretchen McCulloch, the Canadian linguist and author of “Because Internet,”
dedicated an entire chapter of her book to “typographical tone of voice,” which explores not only periods and ellipses as signifiers of tone, but also TYPING IN ALL CAPS, which is seen as yelling; using *asterisks* and ~tildes~ for emphasis; the all lowercase “minimalist typography,” which can indicate a kind of deadpan, sarcastic monotone; and, of course, tYp1nG l1k3 th!z. (This is called “l33t [elite] speak,” and while it was once a sincere and popular way of spicing up texts, it is now employed almost exclusively in irony.) No More Periods When Texting. Period.
For anyone else who’s been trying to figure out how to do virtual events that are actually social, the organizing committee of LingComm21 has written
a six-part series on how we designed the conference:
Why virtual conferences are antisocial (but they don’t have to be) Designing online conferences for building community Scheduling online conferences for building community Hosting online conferences for building community Budgeting online conferences or events Planning accessible online conferences
I was a contestant on
Webster’s War of the Words, a virtual quiz show fundraiser for the Noah Webster House, and also attended two online conferences, the Dictionary Society of North America and the annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistics Association.
The main episode of Lingthusiasm was
an interview with Jade Abbott and Bonaventure Dossou from Masakhane, a grassroots initiative to make natural language processing tools in African languages, for Africans, by Africans. The bonus episode was about the linguistics of Pokemon names, looking at highly important Pokemonastics research like what makes a name sound cuddly or powerful. Also, Lingthusiasm now has a LinkedIn page, in case that’s a thing that’s been missing from your life. You’re welcome?
Selected blog posts:
This month’s image is, finally, inside a new bookshop again! This is from Librairie l’Alphabet in Rimouski, admittedly definitely a linguistics section that overlaps considerably with “reference” but containing a few French-language books I hadn’t seen before.
We finally ran LingComm and LingFest, the events we’d been planning for the past few months!
LingComm21, the first
International Conference on Linguistics Communication, had just under 200 registrants, around 100 of which were formally part of the programming in some way. It was fantastic to get to see old friends and meet new people and find out more about so many great lingcomm projects. Thank you to everyone involved in the conference, especially the organizing committee and those who participated through panels, posters, volunteering, and organizing meetups. My opening remarks and closing remarks are here as blog posts, and see the #LingComm21 hashtag for highlights of what people noticed about the conference.
We did a liveshow for my podcast, Lingthusiasm!
Here’s a fun thread that I did about backchannels while we were getting ready for the show. If you’ve now realized that you want to belatedly watch the liveshow, here’s the archive link (for patrons, as encouraging people to become patrons is what helps us keep the show running).
The Lingthusiasm liveshow was part of
LingFest, a fringe-festival-like program of online linguistics events aimed at a general audience, which contained a total of 12 events attended by a total of over 700 participants. Thank you to everyone who both created and attended events!
moderated a panel for the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL) on NLP Applications for Crisis Management and Emergency Situations.
The main episode of Lingthusiasm this month was about
R and R-like sounds (rhoticity), featuring A Thing About Eeyore that keeps blowing listeners’ minds, and the bonus was about talking to babies and small children.
Selected blog posts:
This month’s image is a
group photo of attendees from the LingComm21 conference! So much fun to get to be in a group photo again for a change!
This month was largely occupied in continued preparations for a pair of events in April:
The main episode of Lingthusiasm was about
how linguists figure out the grammar of a language ( transcript) and the bonus was about reduplication and a classic linguistics paper affectionately known as the salad-salad paper.
I did two video talks:
at Planet Word, the new language museum in Washington DC, about internet language and Because Internet, and for Slate’s Future Tense about the meaning of emoji with Jennifer Daniel.
I collaborated on another video with Tom Scott, this one about the rhythms of poetry in different languages or
Why Shakespeare Could Never Have Been French:
Selected blog posts:
This month’s photo, since I yet again didn’t go anywhere, is a throwback photo from ReadeBook, a bookshop in Adelaide, from when I was in Australia in 2018.
This month, I announced
LingComm21, the first International Conference on Linguistics Communication, and LingFest, a fringe-festival-style coordination of independently organized public linguistics events, together with an excellent organizing committee consisting of Lauren Gawne, Jessi Grieser, Laura Bailey, and Liz McCullough (different spelling, no relation!), both to take place in April 2021.
I wrote a
thread about how we came to the idea of running a linguistics communication conference, plus a more official-looking announcement on LinguistList.
We reached our 100th episode of Lingthusiasm! This month’s main episode of Lingthusiasm was about
imperatives ( transcript) and the bonus was a Q&A episode featuring naming dogs, modifying English, keeping up with linguistics research outside academia, and more. (Also, the cutest IPA update.)
I attended the virtual AAAS conference, including
making a virtual “hotel bar” in Gather to hang out with fellow attendees in.
I also may or may not have been in
another xkcd comic, this time about the Tower of Babel. (I am choosing to consider it a representation of curly-haired linguists everywhere.)
Selected blog posts:
This month’s featured image is
from xkcd. I have to say, I’m severely tempted to screencap that exultant curly-haired linguist as a new profile picture.