October 12, 2018

Site Update 10-12


Another week has come and gone, but that just means we're getting ever closer to the next Dialect Dissection! Remember to check out the Founding Fathers article if you haven't yet. I also wrote up a casual post on Female Internet Communities.

I'm starting to use Twitter some more beyond just letting people know there's been a new post. It's a good format for observations I have that aren't long enough to be a post, but good enough for a Tweet. It's also a good way to let you all know about any cool linguistics developments. Here are some highlights from Tweets I've made recently:

Remember you can follow me on Twitter for Ace Linguist news and observations.

Looking at the Future

Notice how I'm using all these headers now? I'm trying to make the "blog updates" more structured and less "here's a link to articles I wrote, I'm alive, have a nice day!" I used to basically use "blog updates" so that someone who hadn't checked the site in a few weeks might get up to date on recent posts I've written, but there's a lot more you can do with a weekly post like this. Sometimes I will have big, ambitious plans for the future. Sometimes I will have nothing. Sometimes I'll just want to recommend something I read about. So let's go on to the future.

Accessible Linguist: I am looking into ways to make Ace Linguist more accessible to anyone using assistive technologies or who is otherwise disabled. This is kind of a wide scope, but for the first part I'm looking into adding 'alt' descriptions to all non-decorative images on the site. The second part, which is more challenging, would be making the site's markup more semantic. As a real stretch goal for the distant future, I'd like to have a style switcher for people who either need a more high contrast theme or people who need a dark theme for reading at night. I've gotten more comfortable messing around with Blogger's HTML.

Different Formats: As much as I love writing Ace Linguist, I recognize that nowadays the blog market is not quite the biggest one out there. I've had a lot of people ask me why I'm writing a blog in The Year of Our Lord 2018, and I always have to explain that it's not really a blog in the sense of a place where I talk about my daily life but more like the old idea of a "site" where people would write articles/pages on a specialist topic. Nevertheless, both blogs and sites have decreased in prominence, so I am looking into new ways to get the same content out to people. One thing I'm looking into is podcasts - a lot of these articles may actually work better in audio form, since you'll be able to hear every example. I would also love to eventually expand this site into video - making video essays was a very early goal of this site that I put on hold due to the realization that I (a) did not really know how to make videos, (b) had poor quality recording equipment, (c) did not have the expertise to make videos quickly enough to match the content I wanted to put out. I would still like to make videos, but it's really a future goal for Ace Linguist when I have some more time and funding.

Revising Old Articles: If you've looked around the site's old articles for some reason, you may notice that they are... a little strange. I've only seriously been putting out content for a year now, but my style and goals have changed a lot since then. A lot of the old articles are unfocused, or they have an inconsistent outline, or the style is bad, or the citations aren't up to my standards nowadays. I would very much like to revisit some old articles and change them around before immortalizing them in podcast form.

What's Cooking?

Next month is NaNoWriMo! That's National Novel Writing Month for those of you who aren't familiar. It's a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. If it sounds scary, it's not - I've done it multiple times before and reached the goal almost every time. Last year I decided to be a Rebel and write articles instead of a single unified document. It was the first time I did not reach my goal, but I did end up with a lot of articles that I could use for the site. I'm going to try again this year, but I will be doing more research beforehand so that I can spend less time in November researching and more time writing.

See you all next week!

- Karen

October 8, 2018

Female Internet Communities

I've noticed an interesting trend in female-centric internet communities, particularly beauty ones such as fashion and make-up. It is common for users to use the -ie diminutive to make a sort of colloquial version of a word. Some examples I've found are below:

  • lipstick > lippie
  • eyebrow dip > dippie
  • skinny jeans > skinnies
  • sunglasses > sunnies

Some other languages also have a trend of certain diminutives being considered feminine. Off the top of my head, in Russian turning 'spasibo' into 'spasibochki' (both mean thanks) is considered a very cutesy, feminine construction.

Gender differences can be found in all sorts of languages to a greater or lesser extent, but it's interesting to think about the way that gender differences can be found on the internet. For example, women are more likely to use emoji than men are, and men and women have different patterns of emoji usage.

Another female-dominated community is, unsurprisingly, the online mommy community. I've noticed that there is a jargon: LO is short for little one, which is an idiomatic way to refer to a child; DH is short for dear husband. Child and husband are basic familial terms, so it is interesting that these communities have come up with ways to make the terms more opaque to outsiders. The use of acronyms in particular reminds me of business culture, where initialisms are used liberally (mocked in the movie Officespace with "TPS reports").

Have you noticed any trends in how slang and jargon develops in female vs male dominated communities? How would it compare to mixed-gender communities?

October 1, 2018

10-1 Blog Update

Hello all! I hope you enjoyed my big post Dialect Dissection: Founding Fathers. It took nearly 2 years of work and a lot of books purchased on my end, so I was a bit nervous about releasing it into the world. I'm happy that the response has been positive and there has been a lot of interest in the topic!

Remember when, at the beginning of the year, I said it would be a good idea to post more often with smaller content? I ended up revising that in April where it became once a week. And after a few months of updating once a month, I had to admit that I was not feeling the once a week schedule. The idea was that more content was more desirable, but the statistics tell me, rather frankly, very few people are reading the short articles I write. Although I like some of them, they did end up being more rushed. I could not put as much polish into them as I would have liked. I also felt forced to come up with topics for the sake of writing about them. I enjoy working on a big post more than churning out middling linguistic content. However, I don't want to be beholden to a "one big post once a month" thing. Sometimes I want to make small observations without needing to source every single assertion. I've decided to create the casual tag for small articles that are observations as opposed to attempting to be seriously educational. Casual articles will invite more discussion as well. I will also post mini-articles occasionally - sometimes you just don't need a big ol' article to explain something. I will not make any promise more than that I will continue to update this website and will give you a post or failing that, a status update at least once a month.

If you want news or linguistic thoughts, you can find me on Twitter. Facebook will give you just the news if you prefer that as well.