I did several media things this month on the theme of trying (insofar as it’s possible) to sum up this year: The Coronavirus’s New Words in the New York Times, Words of 2020! (and Metaphors, and Interfaces of the Year) on the a16z podcast, and a Bonus 2020 highlights episode from The Allusionist.
The Crash Course Linguistics episodes which came out this month were:
- Psycholinguistics – Crash Course Linguistics #11
- Language acquisition – Crash Course Linguistics #12
- Language change and historical linguistics – Crash Course Linguistics #13
The main episode of Lingthusiasm was about small talk and the bonus episode was a Q&A with lexicographer Emily Brewster of Merriam-Webster about the process of making dictionaries. Thanks to our patrons for their great questions! If you want to suggest potential future guests and ask questions of them (along with getting access to bonus episodes and chatting with fellow linguistics enthusiasts in the Lingthusiasm Discord more generally), you can become a patron. Someone also made a Sporcle quiz about Lingthusiasm episodes, which we thought was very cool!
I went to the American Dialect Society’s annual Word of the Year vote, which is normally in person in early January at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, but this year as both have moved online, we were able to have the WotY vote at the end of December instead. A bit weird, but still nice to see familiar faces in the chat! The winner was, surprising no one at all, “covid”, and you can see the longer (and in my mind, more interesting) list of nominees in each category here.
A video with Tom Scott on the complicated question of how many languages there are.
- The Coronavirus’s New Words – New York Times – mention
- Words of 2020! (and Metaphors, and Interfaces of the Year) – a16z podcast – interview
- Bonus 2020 – The Allusionist podcast – interview excerpt (deleted scenes)
- You Are Not So Smart – podcast interview
- 12 Linguistics Books To Help You Learn More About Language – Babbel magazine
- Tone indicators and the ever-evolving quest to clarify what we’re saying online – BoingBoing blog
- A Year In Reading – The Millions – mention
- Understanding Your Gen X Boss’s Shorthand – The Millennial Whisperer on TikTok
- More Gather experiments, including a really neat Glitch app
- the mystical English word “scuba”
- a cursed wordgame and the results
- Because Internet in a random tartan generator
- merry new year
- The corpus study of holiday greeting cards that I wish I could run
Selected blog posts:
- A neural net writes variations on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Linguistics jobs: developer advocate
- New kanji for social distancing
- The language after “Modern” English: English_final_FINAL?
- English’s avoidance register in front of certain animals: W-A-L-K
- Towards a new language of the global language crisis
Lots of people seem to have received copies of Because Internet for Christmas this year, as it’s now in paperback, and have been tagging me in them on twitter and instagram, which is lovely! Here are some of them: