January 2016: LSA in DC, Explaining linguistics talks, Star Wars, twitter advice

I gave two talks in Washington DC, one at the LSA sister society meeting of The Association for Linguistic Evidence about explaining linguistics for forensic linguists (slides at bit.ly/explainling-lsa2016) and one at Georgetown about Writing, Talking, and Working Linguistics (slides at bit.ly/explainling-georgetown).

In the leadup to the LSA, I posted this advice post on how to “get” twitter. Also at the LSA annual meeting in DC, I held a #lingwiki Wikipedia editathon (see the report on articles edited) and did the LSA’s public relations for the weekend, including liaising with media attendees and running social media on the @LingSocAm twitter account with LSA intern Kat Starcevic. I’d also recommend checking out John Rickford’s LSA presidential address about linguistic injustice in the courtroom (in video and livetweet form).

I was quoted in several articles:

I also watched the new Star Wars movie and storified some thoughts that I and other twitter people had about how the languages make sense (spoiler: they don’t, really).

Selected blog posts:

Here’s a photo I took of the linguistics section at Second Story Books in DC:

second story books dc

October 2015: SXSW accepted, Polyglot Conference, NELS & NWAV editathons, and storifies

My SXSW panel with SwiftKey about the linguistics of emoji was accepted!

I did three Wikipedia editathons, at NELS in Montreal, NWAV in Toronto, and at Queen’s in Kingston. Here’s a summary of all three editathons. The NELS editathon was my last under my Inspire grant from Wikimedia, and it also got picked up in Concordia’s news service which led to me doing an interview about it with CBC Homerun.

I attended Polyglot Conference in New York City, which I’ve storified the livetweets from. I also storified my livetweeting of Rainbow Rowell’s new book, Carry On, as well as a linguistic parody of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space that I wrote a while back.

Articles for Mental Floss:

I did interviews for a number of articles:

And several of my previous articles got picked up elsewhere:

Selected blog posts:

I took so many cute wugshots this month I couldn’t pick just one. Here’s a series of crocheted wugs which Concordia linguistics student Caitlin Stahl made and brought to NELS, a wug I drew on a children’s magnetic toy in a store in NYC, and a line of marching wugs from a blackboard in the University of Toronto linguistics department.

crocheted wugs wug toy wugboard

August 2015: SXSW proposal, language disruptors, vintage internet slang, back-to-school link roundup & linguistics + X

I’ve started working with SwiftKey, a mobile keyboard app company, on analyzing some of their extensive data on how people use emoji. We’ve got a panel proposal up for South by Southwest Interactive which you can see more details about and vote for, if you’re so inclined.

I wrote my first piece for Quartz, about how young women have been disrupting language ever since Shakespeare, and it got picked up by the Smithsonian Magazine.

I revisited the classic handbook of cutting-edge 90s internet language, Wired Style and wrote about its retro internet slang and how I became a descriptivist for The Toast and then explored further vintage slang from it in a follow-up on Mental Floss. I also wrote for Mental Floss about the two kinds of hashtags, index and commentary.

I livetweeted my thoughts about an advance copy of David J. Peterson’s The Art of Language Invention, which I’ve summed up in a Storify (with sneak peeks of the book).

I published a back-to-school link round up on All Things Linguistic, as well as a career advice post, Linguistics + X.

Selected blog posts:

Here’s a picture of my paper copy of Wired Style that I hunted down secondhand since it’s now out of print. wired style

Top posts from 3 years of All Things Linguistic

Cross-posted from All Things Linguistic.

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

Explanations

Linguist Humour

Anti-prescriptivism

Language activism

Linguistics and pop culture

Internet Language

Gender pronouns

Things about languages

Linguistics videos

#lingwiki

Resources

Haven’t been with me this whole time? It’s okay — you can see the highlights of year one and year two right here.

2014 Year in Review

Cross-posted from All Things Linguistic.

What a year! I finished my MA in linguistics at McGill at the end of 2013, so in 2014 I started writing linguistics for a general audience full time. By comparison, here’s 2013’s (much shorter!) highlights post.

I started the year at the LSA in Minneapolis, where “because x” — which I’d written several posts about — was voted Word of the Year for 2013.

I wrote A Linguist Explains the Grammar of Doge. Wow. It was my second article for The Toast and currently has nearly 50k shares (wow.) Related: the article summarized as a doge image, the second generation of internet language, Dogeblanca, French doge, wuge, and my interview with the BBC.

Further Toast pieces included:

In the spring, I became the editor of Slate’s language blog, Lexicon Valley. Here are a few of the posts that I wrote (full list here).

I also had the privilege of working with many great writers on Lexicon Valley. It’s hard to pick, but here are a few posts by other people. (See also this summary of top Lexicon Valley posts from 2014.)

I continued writing for Grammar Girl, and also started writing for The Week and Schwa Fire. Selected posts:

I did an interview with Steven Pinker and reviewed his recent book The Sense of Style

I wrote several series of blog posts:

I wrote several individual advice posts:

Notable posts on language and society:

On language, the internet, pop culture, and fan-guistics:

General interest:

In the “linguists gonna ling” category, I became part of the group blog Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. In addition to the LSA annual meeting, I gave a keynote on internet syntax at McCCLU and attended SULA, NWAV, and NELS.

At a meta-blog level, I celebrated my two-year blogiversary and 1000th post on All Things Linguistic, and wrote an FAQ. I also started publishing monthly summary posts of my linguistic activities, blog-related and not, on my personal website, so you can check those out if you’re worried about missing anything major.

Upcoming: I’ll be starting next year as usual at the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting in Portland, Oregon in early January, where you can catch me on the Popularizing Linguistics via Social Media panel, at a linguistics careers networking event, running a Wikipedia Editathon, and of course generally in the hallways and on #lsa2015. I’m bringing my copy of linguistsagainsthumanity and I hear there may be a few other ling-games brought, so feel free to bring any games you have and/or join us (probably in the lobby or other common area) if you see people playing!

December 2014: Swearing, explaining linguistics, and more Cabin Pressure

I wrote an article on the syntax of fuck for The Toast, reviving the classic paper, “English Sentences Without Overt Grammatical Subject”. I also joined Strong Language, a new blog about the language of swearing, and wrote a post about this delightful bilingual sticker that I snapped a photo of in Montreal. The comments on both the original wordpress post and my subsequent cross-post to tumblr are very much worth it for further commentary.

Il est interdit de faire smashy-smash. It is forbidden to fuck shit up.
Il est interdit de faire smashy-smash.
It is forbidden to fuck shit up.

I made a link round-up with resources for how to explain linguistics to your friends and family this holiday season, which was resoundingly popular on facebook (perhaps from linguists hinting to their friends and family!)

I continued my blog series on the linguistic aspects of Cabin Pressure, which ultimately came to the attention of John Finnemore, who writes and acts in the show.

For Lexicon Valley highlights, see this list of the top posts of 2014.

Selected blog posts:

Upcoming: Wikipedia editathon and panel about popularizing linguistics online (I’m representing tumblr) at the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting in Portland, Oregon next week.

November 2014: Editathon slides, FAQ, Cabin Pressure, and early Christmas posts

A draft of my slides for the linguistics Wikipedia editathon is now online at bit.ly/lingwiki and comments are welcome. This short url will allow participants to follow the slides at their own pace during the workshop, or indeed participate in the editathon from anywhere online during the weekend of the LSA annual meeting. More on the structure of the editathon here.

I made an FAQ for All Things Linguistic and a final part 8 to last month’s how to draw syntax trees series: A step-by-step guide to tree drawing, with gifs.

I started a blog series analyzing linguistic aspects of the BBC radio comedy Cabin Pressure:

Selected posts from Lexicon Valley:

Selected blog posts:

Note that I have departed from my usual practice and included some links from early December above, specifically the Christmas-related ones, because by the time the December summary post comes up in early January, they’ll be rather out of date.