August 2019: UK edition of BECAUSE INTERNET coming in October and So. Much. Media.

There’s going to be an official UK edition of BECAUSE INTERNET! It’ll have a slightly different cover and subtitle, and will be coming out on October 3 in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and everywhere else that typically gets UK editions of books. You can preorder it here in hardback, ebook, and audiobook formats. (As tempting as it sounds, I will NOT be re-recording the entire audiobook in a fake British accent for the UK edition — you’ll have to settle for my actual Canadian one.)

BECAUSE INTERNET hit the New York Times bestseller list for a second week, and through mysterious alchemical forces I acquired a Wikipedia bio page and this nifty Google search box beside my name.

There are, as I learned this month, two different ways that a book can be reviewed by the New York Times. One is through the Daily reviews, which is what happened last month. The other is through the weekend Books section, which is what happened this month with a review by Clay Shirky, who said:

If you are concerned about digital tools dumbing down written English, or leaving young people with lazier syntactic habits, this is definitely not the book for you. If, on the other hand, you are interested in how language actually works (the rules are just collective agreements, constantly renegotiated), and how the internet is changing those rules, it definitely is.

I also wrote an adapted excerpt from BECAUSE INTERNET which appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Here’s a bit of it:

Irony is a linguistic trust fall. When I write or speak with a double meaning, I’m hoping that you’ll be there to catch me by understanding my tone. The risks are high—misdirected irony can gravely injure the conversation—but the rewards are high, too: the sublime joy of feeling purely understood, the comfort of knowing someone’s on your side. No wonder people through the ages kept trying so hard to write it.

Other media highlights: reviews in the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR Fresh Air, being quoted in a New York Times article about the em dash, and interviews on the BBC World News and NPR It’s Been a Minute. (This month’s full, ridiculous, media list below.) Here’s a quote from the Atlantic:

McCulloch shows how creative respellings, expressive punctuation, emoji, memes, and other hallmarks of informal communication online demonstrate a sophistication that can rival even the most elegant writing.

I did a Reddit AMA on the r/Books subreddit and wrote a Big Idea post on Whatever, John Scalzi’s blog, about the quixotic attempt to write a book about the internet. I’ve been reading both things for years so it was exciting to finally be on them!

I collaborated on a second Language Files video with Tom Scott and Molly Ruhl, this time about “no problem” “you’re welcome” and other phatic expressions.

I tweeted my reading of two other new books, This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, and How To by Randall Munroe.

The main Lingthusiasm episode was about how putting sounds into syllables is like putting a burger together (a thread about how we designed this metaphor). The bonus was about metaphors themselves, including metaphors we take for granted and the career of metaphor design. We also ran a Patreon Special Offer to get signed bookplates of BECAUSE INTERNET (which is closed now, but you can still get your name and favourite IPA character on our Lingthusiasm Supporter Wall of Fame).

Here’s the ridiculously long list of all the media I did this month, another 34 items to add to July’s 68. (For those keeping score at home, that makes for 102 media things in July and August alone, which is a bit more than the amount of total media that I’d ever done in the five or so years before that. In other words, that’s a LOT.)

National Radio/TV:

National Print/Top Online:

Newsletters/Blogs:

Podcasts:

Local Radio/TV:

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s photo is a composite of various people’s photos of Because Internet hanging out with other books, thanks to people tagging me in their photos on instagram! It’s been really fun seeing this book I’ve been working on for so long out there in people’s lives!  (Remember to tag @gretchen.mcculloch directly in the photo rather than just in the comment if you want to show up in this view!) because internet instagram tagged grid

Want to follow what’s going on in the world of internet linguistics? You can now sign up for these posts as a monthly newsletter at gretchenmcc.substack.com

April 2019: Coding in English and new Because Internet cover photos

My latest article for Wired is: Coding is for everyone — as long as you speak English. (I also made a Glitch remix of the first website for it). Here’s a quote from the article:

In theory, you can make a programming language out of any symbols. The computer doesn’t care. The computer is already running an invisible program (a compiler) to translate your IF orinto the 1s and 0s that it functions in, and it would function just as effectively if we used a potato emoji 🥔 to stand for IF and the obscure 15th century Cyrillic symbol multiocular O ꙮ to stand for. The fact that programming languages often resemble English words like body or if is a convenient accommodation for our puny human meatbrains, which are much better at remembering commands that look like words we already know.

But only some of us already know the words of these commands: those of us who speak English.

This month’s Lingthusiasm main episode was an interview with Ake Nicholas about making pop culture resources to get kids excited about Cook Islands Māori (transcript), and the bonus episode was about how radio announcers know how to pronounce all the names (an interview with Tiger Webb from our Sydney liveshow).

In news about my book, an early review of Because Internet said that “me reading this was basically galaxy brain” (<3) and I was quoted in this article in The Cut, talking about the importance of linguistic styleshifting.

I started getting ready to record the Because Internet audiobook (which I’m doing myself!), updated my cover photo to include the book and got an idea for how to sign people’s copies. I also compiled my best memes and behind-the-scenes bits about Because Internet so far into a convenient twitter moment.

In other books (specifically lingfic), I tweeted assorted thoughts about the linguistic worldbuilding in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and its sequels (thread).

Somehow I got namechecked in the hovertext of an SMBC comic, so that’s a lifegoal accomplished that I never knew I had.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s image is one of my fancy new social media cover photos featuring Because Internet!

BecauseInternet_FacebookCover_cropped

September 2017: Lingthusiasm liveshow, line edits on the book, and aliebn-speak

We had a Lingthusiasm liveshow at Argo Bookshop in Montreal, because my cohost Lauren Gawne was in town for a conference. We sold out the bookshop (in fact, we had to buy them a couple extra chairs!). It was great to meet so many new listeners and to introduce Lauren to friends I already know! If you missed out on the liveshow due to the vicissitudes of geography, you can now listen to it online: So like, what’s up with, um, discourse markers? Hark, a liveshow!

This month’s Lingthusiasm main episode was about sounds you can’t hear – babies, accents, and phonemes, and the bonus is about linguistic research and how to become the go-to person among your friends for language questions. We also made a snazzier website for the podcast.

Book update: I’ve progressed into line edits for my book on internet language. (Not sure what line edits are? I’m really happy with the metaphor I came up with to explain them.)

I was interviewed in an episode of the World in Words about “aliebn-speak” or the linguistic style of jomny sun.

I was also interviewed on the Macquarie Dictionary podcast about the history of singular “they” and how “language is an open source project”.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

Here’s a photo from the liveshow at Argo Bookshop!

lingthusiasm liveshow argo

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

May 2017: covfefe, Lingthusiasm buttons, blogiversary, Canadian Linguistics Association, and dictionary makers

I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post: Herefefe is why it’s toughfefe to say “covfefe”, which was inspired by a twitter thread of mine that became massively popular and was picked up by the GuardianLongreads, and El Pais (Spanish).

I moderated a panel about careers in linguistics at the annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistics Association, part of the Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Toronto.

It was my 5-year blogiversary! Here’s a list of some of my favourite posts on All Things Linguistic from the past year.

Episode 8 of Lingthusiasm was about People who make dictionaries, and contained our thoughts about Kory Stamper’s new book, Word by Word. We also posted a new Patreon bonus about selling your linguistics skills to employers, a follow-up Space Pidgin quote, and officially reached our sustainability goal on Patreon, so now we can start expanding!

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s featured image is from making a couple Lingthusiasm buttons at the Scholar’s Portal booth in the Congress Expo! Now I just need to get one of them to Lauren and find us an occasion to wear them…

lingthusiasm button making

April 2017: NPR doggos & tweetstorms, teaching yourself linguistics, and a circuit wug

I was quoted in two stories for NPR All Tech Considered: the first was an article about the linguistic style of doggo, pupper, and the rest of the dog rates/dogspotting meme and the second was about twitter threads (tweetstorms).

I was also quoted in a TIME article about Easter and a Fansplaining article about fanfiction versus fan fiction.

The audio from my SXSW Word Curation panel is now online, as is the video from the Five Minute Linguist talks that I judged in January.

This month’s Lingthusiasm episode was about how Kids These Days aren’t ruining language, plus a highly-requested bonus episode on our Patreon about how to teach yourself even more linguistics, with our recs for linguistics books, videos, and other resources. We were also featured on Language Log and Linguist List and got a great endorsement from a listener.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s featured image comes from my attempt to draw a wug with an eye that would light up out of a pen that had conductive ink and using my fingers as part of the circuit, from a booth at South by Southwest in March. It was, alas, unsuccessful (they don’t teach circuits at linguist school) and I had to do weird things to the contrast in order to make the silver ink show up in the photo, but it still looks pretty cool.

circuit wug

December 2016: Lingthusiasm podcast launched, Idea Channel video, and yearly summary

I launched a podcast called Lingthusiasm with the fantastic Lauren Gawne of the linguistics blog Superlinguo. It’s a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics and you can listen to it on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play MusicYouTube or most other podcast apps via rss, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr for updates. We launched it with the first three episodes:

  1. Speaking a common language won’t lead to world peace
  2. Pronouns: singular “they”, other languages, and solving the gay fanfiction pronoun problem
  3. A lingthusiastic review of the alien linguistics movie Arrival

I consulted on this video for the PBS Idea Channel about the “words for snow” myth and I was quoted in this article for the New York Times: On the internet, to be “Mom” is to be Queen.

I also wrote book things! Nothing to announce yet, but here’s a few #amwriting protips.

I posted my yearly summary for 2016 on All Things Linguistic.

In January, I’m heading to the annual conference of the Linguistic Society of America, where I’ll be doing a panel and a talk and an editathon and lots of other things!

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s bookshelfie is the linguistics section of Foyles in London, a photo I took when I was in the UK in May.

foyles-london-bookshelfie

September 2016: Second book draft, #Wulf4Ham, linguistics jobs interviews

I hit a book milestone: I finished the second major draft! Details and sneak peaks into the writing process. I also made a central information page for the book.

I was quoted in two articles, That time when “That time when” took over the Internet (Washington Post) and the evolution of emoji from emoticons (Japan Times). I also storified the Beowulf/Hamilton crossover, #Wulf4Ham.

I restarted the series of interviews for the linguistics jobs series on All Things Linguistic, with the help of Elena Russo, and also created a handy linguistics jobs overview page. New interviews: with a book publicist, science fiction writer, and policy analyst.

I’m currently heading to Dawn or Doom, a conference at Purdue University about technology and culture, where I’ll be giving a talk about the linguistics of emoji, so you can keep an eye on #DawnOrDoom for livetweets! I also announced this month that I’ll be giving a workshop at EmojiCon in November in the Bay Area.

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s bookshelfie is a photo I took when I stopped in Reykjavik briefly on my way back from the UK in May. Mál og Menning didn’t have much of a linguistics section, but the balcony and hanging bird cutouts were charming anyway.

reykjavik-bookshelfie

July 2016: Lexicon Valley podcast on emoji & public linguistics, Science Friday on expressive punctuation

I did an interview on the Lexicon Valley podcast with summer host John McWhorter, talking about emoji, internet language, and being a public linguist. It was a treat to get to do a long interview with a fellow linguist, so I’d definitely recommend that one!

I did a live interview on Science Friday, talking about about expressive punctuation and internet tone of voice.

I livetweeted N.K. Jemisin’s latest book, The Obelisk Gate, from a linguistics perspective. (See also my livetweet of her previous book, The Fifth Season.) I also tweeted a bit about the linguistics of the new Ghostbusters movie.

I changed the colour of the logo for All Things Linguistic from black & white to teal.

Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet month with lots of book writing and editing happening behind the scenes. Nothing official to announce there yet, but you can check out my #amwriting tweets for cryptic snippets of the writing process (mostly me fighting with spellcheck).

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s bookshelfie is a literal selfie that I took in the window of Elizabeth’s Books in Lunenburg – yes, that’s my hair in silhouette! lunenburg window bookshelfie

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.