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.
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!
I wrote three articles for The Toast, on internet sarcasm, the 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“.
I did a lot of interviews this year, especially about internet language. Highlights:
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.
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.
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
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:
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
- On uptalk: “Young women shouldn’t have to talk like men to be taken seriously”
- “Like” is not randomly inserted into discourse…
- xkcd on quotative like
- Drunk speech and stoned speech
- Cutting-edge Pig Latin linguistics research
- Toni Morrison and William Labov on African American English
- Benefits of indigenous language learning
- Conjugating singular they
- Newish pronouns in other languages
- Habitual be in African American English
- If pronouns are a closed class, how is it that people are inventing new ones?
- Zero copula in African American English and other languages
- Aboriginal language rights in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report
- Backlash about criticizing “just”
- The problem with “economically useful” as a reason for language learning
- “No problem” vs “you’re welcome”
- What if we talked about monolingual white children the way we talk about low-income children of colour?
- On “sounding gay”
- New Zealand syntax in Lovely Little Losers
- Myth-busting about sign languages
- Deaf interpreters
- How voice recognition systems discriminate against people with accents
- Signily, an ASL keyboard app
- Indigenous languages, literacy, and the myth of the “unwritten language”
- Toggle Talk: codeswitching in the classroom
- Rising Voices / Hótȟaŋiŋpi, a documentary about revitalizing the Lakota language
- A lazy dog was involved in a jumping-related incident with a quick brown fox
- Yaasss, yusss, yisss and vowel chain shifts
- Phoreus: a new font for the Cherokee syllabary
- “You” is plural, unless thou dost speak to an unfamiliar person.
- People who swear more have a bigger vocabulary
- The long, incredibly torturous, and fascinating process of creating a Chinese font
Roundups and Advice posts
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.