January 2017: LSA panel, talk, #lingwiki and livetweets

I gave a talk about Stumbling into linguistics via blogs and Wikipedia at a panel on Getting High School Students into Linguistics which I co-organized with Moti Lieberman at the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting in Austin, Texas. My slides are at and our whole panel’s slides and abstracts are available here.

I also gave a talk about how people lengthen words on Twitter at the LSA, co-authored with Jeffrey Lamontagne – you can check out our slides at (Here’s a fun example that came up later.)

I ran a Wikipedia editathon for the third year in a row at the LSA – here’s a report on the articles edited (and a bonus post on Wikipedia rabbit holes).

I also did PR for the LSA again this year and was on the judging panel for the 5 Minute Linguist competition. If you missed the livetweets, you can relive the LSA using the hashtag #lsa2017.

The fourth episode of Lingthusiasm came to you from inside the Word of the Year vote and we got fanmail!

A linguistics jobs interview with Jane Solomon, a lexicographer at

I’ve added a helpful acrostic of how to spell my last name to my website and email signature.

Selected tweets:

Selected posts:

This month’s image is “lingthusiasm” sketched out in the sand, with the logo added by a helpful wave.

lingthusiasm wave beach logo.jpg


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.




October 2016: Dawn or Doom talk on emoji, SXSW Word Curation accepted, #SpookyTalesForLinguists

In October, I gave a talk about emoji and why they aren’t language at the Dawn or Doom conference at Purdue University. You can see slides here or just look at the fantastic visualization that The Ink Factory made of my talk. I also got to meet Jorge Cham and many other cool people.

I found out that our South by Southwest panel proposal was accepted, so you can look for me in Austin, Texas in 2017 with Ben Zimmer, Jane Solomon, and Erin McKean talking about Word Curation: Dictionaries, Tech, and the Future.

Linguist Twitter had a lot of fun making #SpookyTalesForLinguists happen – see highlights or just go for the whole hashtag.

I’m quoted in several articles:

I ran a linguistics jobs interview with a health writer and noted with great excitement that plans are beginning for an AP linguistics course. I’ll be doing a panel about high school linguistics outreach at the LSA annual meeting in January.

I’m currently heading to EmojiCon in San Francisco, where I’ll be giving a workshop, so stay tuned for livetweets!

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts:

This month’s bookshelfie comes from Von’s Book Shop near Purdue University, but really, let’s just look at that visualization again. Amazing.


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 A few days later, I went into the offices of 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!

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