November 2016: EmojiCon, Arrival movie, and language disruption in OUP

This month, I attended the first EmojiCon in San Francisco. I gave a talk about the mistake people make in assuming that emoji are a language, and three paralinguistic things that emoji do instead (in column form, and here’s a visualization of it), and met a lot of interesting people. You can see livetweets from the event at the #EmojiCon hashtag and I’m quoted in this article about it for TIME.

My article on teen girls as language disruptors, which I wrote for Quartz last year, was republished in a print textbook from Oxford University Press, Making Sense of Language, and my copy of the book finally arrived in the mail.

I revised and updated my annual guide for explaining linguistics to your friends and family this holiday season. See also: my archive of linguistmas posts and 2016 linguistics merch.

Like all linguists this month, I went and saw the linguistics sci fi movie Arrival. Here are a few comments from meanother linguist’s twitter threadlinguistics cut scenes from the screenwriter, and a full list of linguistics media coverage. I also wrote a guide to more linguistics for people who liked Arrival, which I cross-posted to Medium. (Plus: an Arrival recruitment poster and meme.)

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s image is a bunch of emoji-themed art by Yiying Lu from the exhibit at EmojiCon. I spent much of the conference deeply embedded in Unicode geekery but the art definitely makes a better photo.



wug cookies laura beaudin

December 2015: Book announced, singular “they” for WotY, expletive infixation, and wug cookies

This month, I announced that I’m working on a book about internet language! I’ve signed a publishing deal with Riverhead, a division of Penguin – stay tuned for more information on title, publication date, book cover, and so on once I have it.

I wrote an article for Quartz, nominating singular “they” for Word of the Year 2015 – we’ll see how it goes when I’m at the official American Dialect Society vote in January!

I also wrote two posts about expletive infixation for Strong Language, on why you can’t say “abso-jesus-lutely” or “abso-hallelujah-lutely“.

I was quoted in Wired talking about the tears of joy emoji which was Oxford’s Word of the Year, as well as in Slate by Ben Zimmer talking about Bob Dylan’s use of “can’t even”, which was picked up in The Atlantic as Did Bob Dylan Invent Millennial Catchphrase “I Can’t Even”?  I also did interviews with Digiday and the LA Times.  I did an interview about emoticons, emoji, and other linguistic trends on the live podcast The Geekly Chronicles.

My articles appeared on several roundup lists of best posts, including my grammar of shipping piece on The Toast’s 2015 list, and my grammar of doge and syntax of fuck pieces on The Electric Typewriter’s 2014+2015 list.

I published my grant report for the Inspire grant I got from Wikimedia to run six linguistics Wikipedia editathons at conferences in 2015. Including both Wikimedia-sponsored and non-sponsored grants, I ran 10 #lingwiki editathons in 2015, in which over 200 articles were created or edited by over 200 linguists.

As usual, at the beginning of January, I’m headed to the LSA annual meeting in Washington DC, where I’ll be livetweeting, attending the Word of the Year vote, and running an editathon. New this year, I’ll also be doing PR for the LSA at the meeting, so you can catch me on the LSA’s official Twitter account in addition to my own (and, of course, in person). I’ll also be sticking around afterwards to give a talk about explaining linguistics at Georgetown.

On All Things Linguistic, I posted a 2015 year in review post. Here are a few other highlights from this month:

The photo is some delicious-looking wug cookies which Laura Beaudin made for a bake sale at the McMaster Linguistics Society and later tweeted at me for the linguistics baked goods file.

wug cookies laura beaudin

wired style

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