Top posts of 8 years of All Things Linguistic

Cross-posted from All Things Linguistic

It’s my eight year blogiversary! Wow! Let’s celebrate by looking back at some of my favourite posts from the past year:

Because Internet

My book about internet language came out in July 2019. Here are a few of my favourite blog posts about it:

I also did over 200 media interviews for the book, but I've already summarized those on my 2019 year in review post.

Wired Resident Linguist column

I kept writing my Ideas column for Wired, which included these articles:

Other writing

Surprising internet crossovers

After 7 years of blogging, I thought I had pretty much figured out which sections go in this yearly summary post. But for year 8, I've found myself needing to add a delightful new one.

Lingthusiasm

We celebrated our third year of making Lingthusiasm, a podcast that's enthusiastic about linguistics! This year we were recommended by Buzzfeed (!!), which called Lingthusiasm “joyously nerdy”.

The most exciting Lingthusiasm episodes this year were the ones where our guests helped me and Lauren Gawne push the boundaries of what a podcast typically is: this video episode in ASL and English interviewing Lynn Hou about her research on signed languages in real-world contexts and the one where Janelle Shane used a neural net to generate fake Lingthusiasm quotes based on our existing transcripts, and then we performed the best ones out loud (see also Janelle's blog post about making this).

Here's all twelve regular monthly Lingthusiasm episodes:

  1. Why spelling is hard - but also hard to change

  2. Emoji are Gesture Because Internet

  3. Putting sounds into syllables is like putting toppings on a burger

  4. Villages, gifs, and children - Interview with Lynn Hou on signed languages in real-world contexts (also a video episode!)

  5. Smell words, both real and invented

  6. Many ways to talk about many things - Plurals, duals, and more

  7. How to rebalance a lopsided conversation

  8. Making machines learn language - Interview with Janelle Shane

  9. This time it gets tense - the grammar of time

  10. What makes a language easy? It's a hard question

  11. The grammar of singular they - Interview with Kirby Conrod

  12. Schwa, the most versatile English vowel

And the twelve monthly bonus episodes:

  1. North, left, or towards the sea? With guest Alice Gaby

  2. Words from your family - Familects!

  3. Welcome aboard the metaphor train!

  4. Behind the scenes on Because Internet (Q&A)

  5. Jobs, locations, family, and invention - Surnames

  6. Reading fiction like a linguist

  7. The sounds of sheep, earthquakes, and ice cream - Onomatopoeia

  8. What might English be like in a couple hundred years?

  9. Generating a Lingthusiasm episode using a neural net

  10. Teaching linguistics to yourself and other people

  11. When letters have colours and time is a braid - The linguistics of synesthesia

  12. A myriad of numbers - Counting systems across languages

We also started a Discord community that's enthusiastic about linguistics, to solve the problem of “Your podcast got me (back) into linguistics, but now I don’t have people to fan out about language with! Where do I make lingthusiastic friends?”

Finally, we released more Lingthusiasm merch: schwa pins and more that say Never Stressed, greeting cards that say “thanks” or “congrats” on them in IPA; the pun-tastic “glottal bottle” and liquids for your liquids bottle/mug; and shirts/mugs/bags that say Linguistic “Correctness” is just a lie from Big Grammar to Sell More Grammars. (See photos of all the Lingthusiasm merch here.)

Other projects

Lauren Gawne and I also started working on several other projects in the pop linguistics ecosystem online:

  • LingComm Grants - grants to help the next generation of linguistics communication projects get started, which we were able to expand from one grant to four thanks to the support of our patrons. Grantees to be announced in upcoming months!

  • Mutual Intelligibility - a newsletter summarizing existing linguistics resources on specific topics to help instructors moving their courses online, including shorter 3 Links posts and longer Resource Guides

  • Linguistics Crash Course - a series of intro linguistics videos in collaboration with the educational youtube channel Crash Course and linguist Jessi Grieser, to appear later in 2020

Blog posts, generally

Internet linguistics

Linguistics memes and humour

General linguistics

Linguistics jobs (mostly by Lauren Gawne)

Creative linguistics creations

Language Files videos 

I collaborated with Tom Scott and Molly Ruhl on a series of short youtube videos about linguistics.

A series on Weird Internet Careers

A reflection on how starting All Things Linguistic back in 2012 was the seed that led to all of the interesting and exciting things I'm doing now, including writing articles, writing a book, and doing the podcast -- and how to approach trying to do something similar.

Haven’t been with me this whole time? You can see my favourite posts of year oneyear twoyear threeyear fouryear five, year six and year seven.

For shorter updates, follow me on twitter as a person, as my blog, or as the podcast, or for a monthly newsletter with highlights, subscribe on substack.

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