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.

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

June 2016: Old English & Emoji on The Toast, #lingwiki at #CoLang2016 in Alaska

In June, I had two new articles that I wrote go up on The Toast before it closed:

I’m sad to say goodbye to The Toast, but was rather amused to notice that I now get a very oblique claim to fame: my last article seems is up on the front page in perpetuity, alongside Hillary Clinton.

I did an interview with The Ringer about the AP Stylebook’s decision to lowercase “internet”, which turned into a sneak peak from my book proposal and why I’d always intended to keep internet lowercase in the book.

Other media:

I spent the latter two weeks of June in Fairbanks, Alaska, at CoLang, the Institute on Collaborative Language Research, where I co-taught a weeklong mini-course on Wikis and Wikipedia for Endangered Languages with the fantabulous Lauren Gawne (aka Superlinguo).

I also found out that I’m officially going to be teaching a course about linguistics outreach at the 2017 Linguistic Summer Institute (Lingstitute).

Selected tweets:

Selected blog posts from All Things Linguistic:

This month’s bookshelfie was taken at Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks, Alaska. It didn’t have a proper linguistics section, but it was still a lovely bookstore, so here’s the languages section and some bikeshare Fairbikes with books outside.

 

2015 Year in Review

Cross-posted from All Things Linguistic

I started 2015 as usual at the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, where I talked about the linguistic community on Tumblr on the Popularizing Linguistics via Social Media panel. I was also a mentor at a linguistics careers networking event, ran the first linguistics Wikipedia editathon, and livetweeted on #lsa2015.

Book announcement

In December, I announced that I’m writing a book on internet language for Riverhead (Penguin). Details are still to come, but I’m excited to finally be able to talk about this project I’ve been working on all year!

Online Writing

I wrote three articles for The Toast, on internet sarcasmthe linguistics of ship names (how names like Johnlock and Brittana and Dramione get put together), and revisiting the classic handbook of cutting-edge nineties internet language, Wired Style.

In February, I ended my writing and editing for Slate’s Lexicon Valley, and in March I started writing a series on internet language for Mental Floss. Here are some of my favourite pieces for Mental Floss:

I started writing for Dictionary.com (Can an inhaled word mean something?) and for Quartz, about how young women have been linguistic disruptors ever since Shakespeare and 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 continued writing for Strong Language, the sweary blog about swearing, about how the new voice transcription feature in Google Docs censors some swear words (which got picked up by a lot of news outlets: Wired, Gawker, The Register, Fusion, The Daily Dot, and Business Insider), and two posts about expletive infixation, on why you can’t say “abso-jesus-lutely” or “abso-hallelujah-lutely“.

Interviews

I did a lot of interviews this year, especially about internet language. Highlights:

Radio:

I was on NPR Youth Radio and All Tech Considered on emoji, and the Kojo Nnamdi Show on internet dialects?, plus two national Drive programs, in Canada (CBC), talking about emoji and Australia (ABC), talking about language on Twitter.

Lists:

All Things Linguistic made Bab.la’s list of Top 25 Language Professionals Blogs.

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 was profiled in Unravel Magazine about popularizing linguistics and writing about internet language.

#lingwiki

Including both Wikimedia-sponsored and non-sponsored grants, I ran 10 #lingwiki editathons in 2015, in which over 200 Wikipedia articles were created or edited by over 200 linguists.

Speaking & Conferences

Videos

I collaborated on four LingVids videos with Caroline Andrews, Josh Levy, and Leland Paul Kusmer, which went up in March-June:

I co-wrote five Language Files videos with Tom Scott, which went up in May and June:

Top Posts

All Things Linguistic got a new theme in January, with a big header image featuring a photo I took of the linguistics section at the Montague Bookmill. Here are some of my favourite posts of the year, loosely organized by category:

Language and Society

Linguistic Fun

Internet Language

Roundups and Advice posts

Book reviews

Meetups

We had a tumblinguist meetup at the LSA annual meeting in January and at Lingstitute in July (here’s a picture of our hands with wugs drawn on them from the lingstitute meetup).

At the end of August, I started a linguistics meetup group, Linguists@Montréal, loosely inspired by Linguistics in the Pub, and we met up twice a month thereafter. 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!

In January, I’m heading to the LSA annual meeting, this year in Washington DC, where I’ll be livetweeting on #lsa2016, attending the Word of the Year vote #woty15, and running an editathon. New this year, I’ll also be doing media relations 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 — do feel free to say hi if you know me from the internet!) I’ll also be sticking around afterwards to give a talk at Georgetown about explaining linguistics.

Curious about what I did and posted about in previous years? Check out my highlight posts from 2014 and 2013

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

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

June 2015: Bab.la Top 25 blogs, Internet sarcasm on The Toast, emoji interviews & more videos

All Things Linguistic made Bab.la’s list of Top 25 Language Professionals Blogs.

I’m back on The Toast, writing about internet sarcasm. I also started writing for Dictionary.com – my first article was about ingressives: Can an inhaled word mean something? 

Articles for Mental Floss:

I’m quoted in this article on emoji by the Canadian Press, which appeared in CTVnews, Metro, and many other newspapers in Canada. I also did radio interviews about emoji for ABC (Perth, Australia) and CKTB 610 (Niagara, Canada), although I don’t think they’re online yet.

The three remaining videos that I co-wrote with Tom Scott went up:

The fourth video in LingVids went up, about reflexive pronouns and anaphora:

Selected blog posts:

In July, I’m heading to the LSA summer institute in Chicago where I’ll be running four linguistics Wikipedia editathons, on Wednesday afternoons. Follow the #lingstitute hashtag for general updates and the #lingwiki hashtag for the editathons — and feel free to participate from online!

Here’s a picture of the linguistics section at the Montague Bookmill, which was originally where I took the cover photo I use everywhere and which I revisited a while back:

montague bookmill linguistics shelf redux