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

January 2019: Emoji kids, book cards, and #LSA2019

I wrote an article for Wired about preliterate kids texting with emoji. Plus, some bonus adorable examples that didn’t fit in the article.

I wrote an update post about how my book on internet language is going! The book now has a publicist, Shailyn Tavella and you can email her at stavella@prh.com for questions about review copies and interviews.

I also dropped by the fancy new Riverhead office in the Penguin building, made a few comments about Unicode and capitalization, and did a late-stage book editing pass involving reading the whole book out loud to myself which made me feel like David Attenborough.

At the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (this year in New York City), I judged the 5 Minute Linguist competition (video of all the talks here) and did a lingwiki Wikipedia editathon with a focus on underrepresented language articles for the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages. Threads from the LSA about bimodal (signed/spoken) bilingualismlinguistics high school teachers, and the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages (kickoff events).

The main episode of Lingthusiasm was an interview with Hannah Gibson about language contact and Bantu languages, and the bonus episode was about naming people (and especially babies). Plus: when I found out that my cohost was embarking on a new longitudinal language acquisition project, there was only one gift I could give her.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s image is the stack of cards with my book’s cover on them that I got from my publisher to give out at the LSA. If you see me at a conference between now and when BECAUSE INTERNET is out, I’m happy to give you one too! Or stop by Argo Bookshop if you’re in Montreal to get a card and/or preorder a signed copy.

because internet book cards.jpg

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.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

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

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

March 2017: #SXSW Words panel, #ICLDC5 #lingwiki, Princeton talk, Lingthusiasm Patreon

Many talks and travel in March! I began the month in Hawai’i, where I ran several lingwiki editathons at the International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (#icldc5) and also got to attend the Hilo Field Study and learn about Hawaiian language revitalization.

I then headed directly to South by Southwest, where I moderated a panel called Word Curation: Dictionaries, Tech and the Future with Erin McKean (Wordnik), Jane Solomon (Dictionary.com), and Ben Zimmer (Wall Street Journal).  We also stayed in a house together and played word games, and Erin, Jane, and I judged an emoji spelling bee organized by Jenny 8 Lee and other people from EmojiCon.

While the conferences themselves were very different, fortunately the weather in Hawai’i and Texas was very similar – warm and sometimes rainy!

My final talk of the month was at the Princeton linguistics department, where I gave a colloquium talk entitled How I Became An Internet Linguist. I also livetweeted Kory Stamper’s new book, Word by Word, and then got to hang out with her and several other cool lexicography people in NYC on the way to Princeton.

In the meantime, I was quoted in two articles in the New York Times, on Snapchat and phatic communication by Farhad Manjoo and on The communicative function of emoji (Gaymoji) in Grindr by Guy Trebay. The first episode of Lingthusiasm was also featured in NY Mag’s Science of Us and on #SciFriLive (Science Friday on NPR).

The sixth episode of Lingthusiasm came out, about the International Phonetic Alphabet. Listen to the episode on SoundCloud (or wherever you get your podcasts), read the transcript, or check out the links in the shownotes. My cohost Lauren Gawne and I also launched a Patreon to help keep the podcast growing, with a bonus episode about swearing and a video featuring a cameo from our producer.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s featured image is from playing word games at the words house at SXSW. This particular game is known as Codenames and it was great fun.

sxsw word game

January 2017: LSA panel, talk, #lingwiki and livetweets

I gave a talk about Stumbling into linguistics via blogs and Wikipedia at a panel on Getting High School Students into Linguistics which I co-organized with Moti Lieberman at the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting in Austin, Texas. My slides are at bit.ly/lingwiki-lsa2017 and our whole panel’s slides and abstracts are available here.

I also gave a talk about how people lengthen words on Twitter at the LSA, co-authored with Jeffrey Lamontagne – you can check out our slides at bit.ly/longggg. (Here’s a fun example that came up later.)

I ran a Wikipedia editathon for the third year in a row at the LSA – here’s a report on the articles edited (and a bonus post on Wikipedia rabbit holes).

I also did PR for the LSA again this year and was on the judging panel for the 5 Minute Linguist competition. If you missed the livetweets, you can relive the LSA using the hashtag #lsa2017.

The fourth episode of Lingthusiasm came to you from inside the Word of the Year vote and we got fanmail!

A linguistics jobs interview with Jane Solomon, a lexicographer at Dictionary.com.

I’ve added a helpful acrostic of how to spell my last name to my website and email signature.

Selected tweets:

Selected posts:

This month’s image is “lingthusiasm” sketched out in the sand, with the logo added by a helpful wave.

lingthusiasm wave beach logo.jpg

August 2016: SXSW words proposal, Twitter verified, Wikipedia & jobs advice

I proposed a South by Southwest panel for 2017 about Word Curation: Dictionaries, Tech, and the Future with Erin McKean, Ben Zimmer, and Jane Solomon. There’s still a few days left to vote for it (you do need an account, but you can vote even if you’re not necessarily planning on attending SXSW – we’ll be putting whatever we can online afterwards).

I did interviews on #TheFeed on Sirius XM about emoji and for Wired about Apple’s new squirt gun emoji. I was also quoted in an Atlas Obscura article about singular “they” and a Jakarta Post article about internet language.

I livetweeted a linguistically interesting newish science fiction book, Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, and also got into a conversation on twitter about the history of “ship” and “slash” which turned in to this article by Flourish Klink.

I contributed to a WikiEd guidebook to editing Wikipedia for linguistics students and re-started a series of linguistics jobs interviews for the blog (Do you have a linguistics background and a job, even if it seems unrelated? Want to advise some budding linguists? Here’s one way to do it!)

I finally met Nicole Cliffe, former Toast editor, in person, as well as other toasties at a meetup in Kingston!

Selected tweets:

 

Selected blog posts:

August’s featured photo comes from a random Montreal festival that was encouraging people to draw with sidewalk chalk. I have dubbed this a wugritte. wugritte

June 2016: Old English & Emoji on The Toast, #lingwiki at #CoLang2016 in Alaska

In June, I had two new articles that I wrote go up on The Toast before it closed:

I’m sad to say goodbye to The Toast, but was rather amused to notice that I now get a very oblique claim to fame: my last article seems is up on the front page in perpetuity, alongside Hillary Clinton.

I did an interview with The Ringer about the AP Stylebook’s decision to lowercase “internet”, which turned into a sneak peak from my book proposal and why I’d always intended to keep internet lowercase in the book.

Other media:

I spent the latter two weeks of June in Fairbanks, Alaska, at CoLang, the Institute on Collaborative Language Research, where I co-taught a weeklong mini-course on Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages with the fantabulous Lauren Gawne (aka Superlinguo).

I also found out that I’m officially going to be teaching a course about linguistics outreach at the 2017 Linguistic Summer Institute (Lingstitute).

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts from All Things Linguistic:

This month’s bookshelfie was taken at Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks, Alaska. It didn’t have a proper linguistics section, but it was still a lovely bookstore, so here’s the languages section and some bikeshare Fairbikes with books outside.

 

Top posts from 4 years of All Things Linguistic

Cross-posted from All Things Linguistic.

It’s my fourth blogiversary! Let’s celebrate by looking back at some of my favourite posts:

Internet language

Selected Mental Floss articles on internet language:

Livetweets, storified

Livetweeted book reviews:

Other livetweets:

Explanations

Linguist humour

Anti-prescriptivism

Language activism

Linguistics and pop culture

Things about languages

Collaborations

I collaborated on five Language Files videos with Tom Scott, the first of which technically went up last year:

Speaking:

Other projects:

Book

Resources

Haven’t been with me this whole time? It’s okay — you can see my favourite posts of year one, year two, and year three right here. Or if you’d like monthly highlight posts, you can read and/or subscribe in the News section of my website.