2016 Year in Review

Cross-posted from All Things Linguistic.

In 2016, I met Lauren Gawne of Superlinguo in person for the first time and by the end of the year, we’d created a podcast called Lingthusiasm. It’s a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics and you can listen to it on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play Music, YouTube or most other podcast apps via rss, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. We launched it with the first three episodes – stay tuned for more in 2017!

  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 also collaborated on two episodes of PBS Idea Channel with Mike Rugnetta:

All Things Linguistic turned four! I also got verified on twitter, which has not really changed anything, but here’s a reminder that you can follow me there as a person @GretchenAMcC or this blog at @AllThingsLing.

Articles

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  called Making Sense of Language.

Book

I did a lot of behind the scenes writing on my upcoming book about internet language for Riverhead at Penguin. Here are the update posts so far:

  1. I’m writing a book about internet language!
  2. I have a (very rough) draft
  3. I talked with The Ringer about why I’m lowercasing “internet” in the book
  4. I have a full draft, with chapters and paragraphs

I also made an email list for book updates, if you’d like to make sure you don’t miss it on social media.

Talks

Outreach

Media

I did a lot of interviews, but here are some of my favourites:

Top blog posts of 2016 

Explanations

Language learning

Prescriptivism

Internet linguistics

Humour

Novel sentences & ambiguity

Languages

Arrival

It’s not often that linguist is the main character in a movie. Highlights:

Other books and movies:

Linguistics jobs

I restarted the linguistics jobs series, with the assistance of Elena Russo, and created a handy linguistics jobs overview page. New interviews:

Advice

Missed out on previous years? Here are the summary posts from 2013, 2014, and 2015. If you’d like to get a much shorter monthly highlights newsletter via email, you can sign up for that on my website.

wugritte

August 2016: SXSW words proposal, Twitter verified, Wikipedia & jobs advice

I proposed a South by Southwest panel for 2017 about Word Curation: Dictionaries, Tech, and the Future with Erin McKean, Ben Zimmer, and Jane Solomon. There’s still a few days left to vote for it (you do need an account, but you can vote even if you’re not necessarily planning on attending SXSW – we’ll be putting whatever we can online afterwards).

I did interviews on #TheFeed on Sirius XM about emoji and for Wired about Apple’s new squirt gun emoji. I was also quoted in an Atlas Obscura article about singular “they” and a Jakarta Post article about internet language.

I livetweeted a linguistically interesting newish science fiction book, Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, and also got into a conversation on twitter about the history of “ship” and “slash” which turned in to this article by Flourish Klink.

I contributed to a WikiEd guidebook to editing Wikipedia for linguistics students and re-started a series of linguistics jobs interviews for the blog (Do you have a linguistics background and a job, even if it seems unrelated? Want to advise some budding linguists? Here’s one way to do it!)

I finally met Nicole Cliffe, former Toast editor, in person, as well as other toasties at a meetup in Kingston!

Selected tweets:

 

Selected blog posts:

August’s featured photo comes from a random Montreal festival that was encouraging people to draw with sidewalk chalk. I have dubbed this a wugritte. wugritte

lunenburg window 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

last bookstore LA art

April 2016: California talks, book rough draft, Idea Channel & Science Friday on emoji

 

I took a trip to California! I gave a keynote address at the 25th annual CSU Fullerton Linguistic Symposium (my slides at bit.ly/explainling-fullerton). A few days later, I went into the offices of Dictionary.com and gave a talk in conversation with Jane Solomon. You can hear an audio excerpt here, where I talk about the idea of an “internet era” of English. (If you want to see some non-linguistic updates  from California, mostly food pics, you can check out my instagram.)

I hit a book milestone: 100k words of a (very rough) draft. You can see a celebratory screencap and read a few thoughts about the writing process. I also made an email mailing list specifically for very occasional book updates, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss any important internet language book news on social media, you can sign up for that here.

I collaborated on an episode of PBS Idea Channel about emoji with Mike Rugnetta:

I was also on NPR with a live interview on Science Friday, talking about the recent study finding that many emoji get misinterpreted, especially 😁, with the study’s lead author Hannah Miller. You can listen to the interview on souncloud.

In other media, I’m quoted in a Daily Dot article about the “snek” meme, a Daily Dot article about dialects of internet communities, and a BBC Future article about why we’re talking differently about the web/internet/cyberspace.

Selected blog posts:

Here’s my favourite tweet of the month:

Photos are from the Last Bookstore in LA, which has an ordinary-looking linguistics section but and then some gorgeous book art. 😍😍😍

Agenda for May: Scotland!

IMG_ovuwds

March 2016: SXSW talk about emoji and many emoji interviews

March was a month of emoji!

I gave a talk at SXSW about the linguistics of emoji in collaboration with SwiftKey. You can see our slides with notes, listen to our full talksee pictures, and view the livetweets on #EmojiLang. The talk was a lot of fun and we had a full audience of 275 people.

There was a lot of media from my SXSW talk from around the world:

I also had two print interviews go out, both about emoji: in WIRED with Clive Thompson and in the Austin Chronicle’s SXSW Interactive special edition. I also met a lot of great people and went to some fantastic talks at SXSW – you can see a list of other interesting things to check out at the bottom of this post.

Other media included:

I also participated in the Art+Feminism Wikipedia editathon for the 3rd year.

Selected blog posts:

Here are photos the two print interviews plus a bonus picture of the linguistics section at The Last Bookstore in Austin, Texas (shelved, interestingly, next to public speaking).

wired emojiIMG_ovuwdsIMG_-fdml5d

 

wugboard

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

linguistics bookshelf powells bw

September 2015: Ship names, radio Drive interviews, swearing in GDocs, and Linguists@Montréal

I did two radio interviews this month, both of which happened to be national Drive programs, in Canada (CBC), talking about emoji and Australia (ABC), talking about language on twitter. You can listen online at their respective links.

I had a Toast article go up about the linguistics of ship names — how names like Johnlock and Brittana and Dramione get put together.

Articles for Mental Floss:

I wrote an article for Strong Language about how the new voice transcription feature in Google Docs is censoring some swear words, which got picked up by a lot of news outlets: Wired, Gawker, The Register, Fusion, The Daily Dot, and Business Insider.

One of my blog posts on All Things Linguistic, about “you’re welcome” versus “no problem” and phatic communication, got picked up by Buzzfeed and turned into a gif-post.  The Quartz article I wrote last month about young women’s speech also got picked up in an article at New York University.

I started a linguistics meetup group, Linguists@Montréal, loosely inspired by Linguistics in the Pub, and we had our first few inaugural events. If you’re a linguist living in or visiting Montreal, feel free to join the Facebook group or check it out to see if there’s an event happening when you’re around! (There will be a pub night the Thursday before NELS.)

Selected blog posts on All Things Linguistic:

Upcoming: I’m going to three conferences in October, Polyglot Conference in New York City, NELS in Montreal, and NWAV in Toronto. Details here, but I’ll be livetweeting using the hashtags: #pcnyc15, #nels46, and #nwav44 if you’d like to follow along!

Here’s a bookshelfie I took at Powell’s in Hyde Park when I was in Chicago in July, with some fancy filters:

linguistics bookshelf powells bw