I had a very fun time doing this interview on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books this month, talking about the cheese plate as social technology, various language aspects of books I’ve read recently, and of course your ever-present Internet Linguistics Content. Here’s a quote:
Gretchen: So the interesting linguistic fact about Tooth and Claw is, I happen to know Jo Walton and she was telling me the story about the Japanese translation for Tooth and Claw. There’s a linguistic feature in Japanese where you have, like, categories for different types of entities in the world, and there’s one for humans and there’s one for monsters, and what the Japanese translator approached her for permission to do was, can I use the human category, this linguistic thing, for the dragons in this book, and for these other people, who are implicitly humans, but they’re external to the society – can I use the monster descriptor for them?
Sarah: [Gasps] Ohhh! Oh my.
Gretchen: [Laughs] And, and Jo was obviously like, oh my God, of course you can! I would have done this in English if I’d had the ability!—428. The Cheese Plate is a Technology: Because Internet with Gretchen McCulloch
The Crash Course Linguistics videos (10-12 minute videos about intro linguistics!) and their accompanying Mutual Intelligibility newsletters continued coming out this month, as the prophecy (er, scheduling calendar) foretold.
- Syntax 2: Trees – Crash Course Linguistics #4
- Semantics – Crash Course Linguistics #5
- Pragmatics – Crash Course Linguistics #6
- Sociolinguistics – Crash Course Linguistics #7
- Phonetics 1: Consonants – Crash Course Linguistics #8
This month’s main episode of Lingthusiasm was about how translators approach a text, featuring that new translation of Beowulf that I’m super keen on, the Tale of Genji, and more. The bonus episode was about honorifics, that most esteemed and venerable of topics.
I’m pleased to report that the latest set of draft emoji from Unicode include three emoji that I co-wrote the proposals for, along with Lauren Gawne and Jennifer Daniel.
I virtually attended the online National Association of Science Writers (NASW) conference, where I got to try out the Remo table-based proximity chat platform and also ran a “night owls hang out at the hotel bar” meetup in Gather. I also really liked this quote on how writing for the public is difficult and sublime.
Planet Word, the language museum in Washington DC that I’m on the Advisory Board for and have been watching the progress of with interest for several years, finally opened its doors! I watched the virtual ribbon cutting here (still online, if you’re curious) and I’m looking forward to eventually getting to see it in person one day.
A further video in my ongoing collaboration with Tom Scott, about the corpus statistics behind the pronunciation of “gif”.
- The Cheese Plate Is A Technology – Interview with the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books podcast – interview
- BizBrains podcast – mention
- No Place Like Anywhere blog – mention
- Jonathan Crowe blog – mention
- Harper’s Bazaar Arabia – letter from the Editor – mention
- A fake linguist-ish conference experiment in Gather
- How recycled woodcuts resemble modern memes
- How it started / How it’s going (Because Internet edition)
- Started reading Grammar West to East
- A thread about why we have podcast transcripts for Lingthusiasm
- which bunny is holding bouba and which kiki
- Welsh takes on LL Bean
- cleaning off my desk and other Extremely Rocket Science coping strategies
- A rule of thumb for media coverage of tech apps, based on Berkson’s paradox in economics
- All the teeth that linguistics cares about is your two front teeth
Selected blog posts:
- Linguistics jobs: law student
- More linguistics Gather experiments
- xkcd does dialect quizzes (a parody)
- Ancient Sumerian meme dogs
- The 2020 LingComm Grantees now have their projects up, check them out!
I didn’t really go anywhere this month, so here’s a small easter egg from inside a Crash Course Linguistics video.