In February, I did a bunch of travel. First, I went to the Bay Area for Social Science FooCamp, where I gave a lightning talk about how the internet is changing language, and for Comma-Con, Facebook’s internal conference for their writing team, where I gave a keynote about the future of language online.
While in SF, I also paid visits to the Wired mothership office, to PanLex at Long Now (where I got to see one of the original Rosetta Project disks), and to the Internet Archive’s headquarters (where I took a short video of this art installation of the first full crawl of the web, 1997).
I then went to Seattle for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. Highlights: a short talk about emoji, gesture, and internet linguistics, a thread from a SciComm workshop, the Language Science for Everyone booth, and meeting a bunch of people who have a similar sort of weird internet/scicomm job as I do but in different fields.
Looks like there won’t be much travel in anyone’s cards for the upcoming months, so I’m glad I got to see so many friends and meet new interesting people while it was still a thing.
The main episode of Lingthusiasm was about time and tense in languages. I also did a lingcomm thread about how we approached the topic.
The bonus episode is a robo-generated version of Lingthusiasm, where we asked last month’s guest Janelle Shane to help us use a neural net to generate a new Lingthusiasm episodes based on the transcripts of our ~70 existing episodes, and then we performed the best snippets. Accuracy: low. Hilarity: high.
The Lingthusiasm Patron Discord server is also still going strong, and people have requested a linguistics basics book club channel, to read through an open access linguistics textbook supportively together. I did a thread about how this solves a big lingcomm problem I’ve been working on for years.
A new collab video with Tom Scott and Molly Ruhl went up, this time about the sentences humans can understand but computers can’t.
This month’s media list:
- Tor.com– roundup “Jo Walton’s Reading List: January 2020”– 2/5
- Medium – CommunicationHealth Bookclub –2/13
- The Atlantic —feature “Corporate Buzzwords Are How Workers Pretend to Be Adults”– 2/19
- Thrive Global—mention—2/21
- Nice Games Club (podcast) –mention –2/17
- Beachcomber– roundup “recommended reading”– 2/6
- Linguistics of time travel (in schedule-sending emails)
- Linguistics is Magic
- A hilaribad book about emoji is back
- On seeing words written out in your head
- A thread about subject-specific content gaps on Wikipedia (featuring: lace)
- For a while, the Journal of the International Phonetic Association was written entirely in the International Phonetic Alphabet
- On Japanese vs Western stylized face representations
- On buzzwords and corporate larping
- An advice thread on effective recs – how to get other people into something you love
- Ambiguity: Dogs chasing people on bikes and Weird Al(fred) weird A(rtificial) I(ntelligence)
- Ex-parrots and Lingthusiasm transcripts
- The optimal word to shout at a glass of water to heat it up maximally quickly
- A 1000+ year old discussion of typographical tone of voice in Tale of Genji
Selected blog posts:
- Imagine English having a massive linguist vowel shift for the second time only it’s like “lorge” instead of “large” and “bork” instead of “bark”
- The difficulties of funding language databases
- Linguistics takes on the Roses are red meme
- Grammatical gender in Greek and Latin is more complex than most people think
- Indigenous languages of Taiwan are regaining prominence
- Wug fingernail art
This month’s image is the Rosetta Disk from when I visited PanLex, with a bonus sunset in the background.