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October 29, 2018

Site Update - Supporting Ace Linguist!

Hey! I hope you've been enjoying the latest Dialect Dissection about Indie Girl Voice. I've got some big news for you - Ace Linguist is now on Patreon and Ko-Fi!

To make a long story short, I am not really able to cover the costs for this website like I used to be able to. I can cover some basic costs like hosting, but buying books for the purpose of researching a single topic, like I did with the Founding Fathers article, is not going to be able to happen now. Currently, I would like to be able to cover basic costs and book costs so that not everything is coming straight out of pocket from me. I also have some loftier ambitions for the site, such as converting old articles to podcast and even video form!

If you are unable to donate, don't worry - I will continue to write articles that are freely available to everyone, and at my usual quality. Patrons would be able to see articles before they are published and see drafts or research materials that I use that I end up not publishing. Ace Linguist will not shut down if you are unable to donate - it would just be something if you wanted to show support for the site.

If you would like to make a recurring donation, find me on Patreon.
If you want to make a one-time donation, find me on Ko-Fi.

This year has been really exciting for Ace Linguist, and I've got more posts planned for everyone. Stay tuned!

- Karen

October 24, 2018

Dialect Dissection: Indie Girl Voice

This article is out of date! Please read the updated version here!

Have you ever heard anybody complain about “Indie Voice”? That “indie singers all sound alike”? Have you ever seen a vine called "Indie girl introduces us to her kitchen" where a man wails “walcome to my keetchen; we have banahnies and avocadies”? All of these are related to the topic of this Dialect Dissection: Indie Girl Voice.

Indie Voice, also known as “Indie Girl Voice,” is not really one thing, but rather a series of interrelated phenomena that occur in different genres of music that have at one time or another been called “indie.” Since the aforementioned “bananhnies and avocadies” clip became popular, people have really started paying attention to it. Some good articles have been written on the subject by Kelly Hoppenjans, MTV, and most famously Buzzfeed. However, I wanted to go more in-depth into what the linguistic features that make up indie voice are, where they came from, and how artists as different as Joanna Newsom, Adele, and Selena Gomez can be accused of having “indie voice.”

Defining Indie Voice

Indie Voice can be broadly defined as a style of singing that is associated with several genres that have, at some point or another, been called "indie." Indie Voice is also known as "indie girl voice" because most of the people who use it are women. This is not surprising, as women tend to be on the vanguard of language innovation. The earliest reference online to "indie girl voice" that I could find was this thread from the Straight Dope, posted January 2, 2014.

Is there a name for this hyper-annoying singing style? I'd like to be able to more easily dismiss it.
It seems every indie/faux-indie singer-songwriter girl under the age of 30 is singing with a remarkably annoying, breathy voice with an unnecessary twang in it that is at times punctuated with scratchiness. They sing softly and every vowel sounds like "ow," as though the singer is suffering as much as I am every time I hear it. - MeanOldLady
Meiko wearing a ruffled blouse and playing a guitar

The poster gives some examples, almost all of them leading to folk pop songs. Other posters start replying, giving their agreement on how “annoying” the singing style is, and listing songs that they found to have this same style. Almost all of the songs linked to in this thread for the first year are folk songs. Many of these songs were released around 2013, and many of the posters report hearing these types of songs in commercials. This suggests that this Indie Voice was at peak saturation by 2013, but was likely swirling around for years before appearing in cat commercials aimed at baby boomers. We are going to call this variety of Indie Voice "Folk Indie Voice."

This type of indie girl voice doesn't seem to be quite what the "banahnies and avocadies" vine is making fun of. That vine came out in 2015, the same year that Buzzfeed wrote its own article explaining indie voice. Almost all the examples in the Buzzfeed article came out in 2015, but none of them sound like the soft, waifish folk songs that you hear about in the Straight Dope thread. They are instead more pop-oriented songs, with a stronger electronic influence. We are going to call this one "Pop Indie Voice."

Now that we've laid out the general boundaries of what Indie Girl Voice is, what are the specifics? There are multiple criteria that go into determining whether a given singer demonstrates "indie voice." You do not need to have all the criteria, and indeed very few singers will demonstrate all the features. The following are the most important. One of the features is musical: indie voice is associated with a limited tessitura. You do not get incredibly feats of vocal acrobatic with indie voice. Another clue is phonetic. Both types of Indie Voice make careful use of two types of phonation - creaky voice (also known as vocal fry), which results in a crackling noise, and murmur (also known as breathy voice), where the extra air results in an airy sighing sound. These two phonation types are located closer to the extremes of glottal closure (creaky voice) and glottal opening (breathy voice). You can hear both creaky and breathy voice at play in this relative latecomer to the indie voice game, Billie Eilish.

Billie Eilish - you should see me in a crown (2018)

"Count my cards, watch them fall, blood on a marble wall."

For the most part, the above features are sufficient to get someone accused of having "indie voice." Of course, the context of indie voice is important. Mariah Carey may sing with a breathy voice and limited tessitura on songs like "Touch My Body," but the genre of the song is r&b. Nevertheless, we could stop here and probably round up a lot of people who are considered to have Indie Voice.

However, there is an additional quirk to Indie Voice that makes it of interest to a linguist: both versions of Indie Voice have some particular recurring pronunciations. The most notable of these is diphthongization, which is when a single vowel is pronounced as having two vowels. The Buzzfeed article pays a lot of attention to this diphthongization. Moreover, people notice these pronunciations and post about it. That means this isn't some microphonetic detail you can only find with an acoustic analysis, but something that laymen listeners are pointing out on social media! We're going to dive into these pronunciations and see if we can't explain where they came from.

Quote from the Straight Dope member Wile E. It's not so much the breathiness but the mispronounciation of words that drives me nuts. Here's the lyrics. I must confess when I wear this dress, I feel like dancing the whole night with you, 'Cause you are the one I could see having fun with, Not just for the night but for the rest of my life,Doo doo doo... On 'confess' and 'this' she stretches out the 's' sounds so it sounds like she's a singing snake. Then 'dress' which normally rhymes with 'confess' is pronounced 'drey-ess'

If you want to get straight to the good stuff, scroll past this paragraph. For those of you who want the boring nerd details, my methodology was as follows: I listened to as many of the songs on the Straight Dope thread as I could, and also listened to the songs from the Buzzfeed and Kelly Hoppenjams article. If someone noted that a song had a distinct pronunciation, I tried to listen for that pronunciation in the song; if I heard it myself, I included it and if I did not, I left it out. I also included some songs that some informants told me were examples of indie voice (such as Halsey's cover of "Love Yourself") or potential progenitors of indie voice that I found shared characteristics with the other songs (Adele and Amy Winehouse). I also included a song that I do not consider to have "indie voice" overall but had a notable pronunciation that was very similar to another "indie voice" pronunciation ("What Kind of Man" by Florence + the Machine).

ADDENDUM: A lot of people have asked why most of these examples are of women. I have written a post explaining why most of the examples are women, even though there are men who do Indie Voice as well. If you are interested in learning more about the methodology and how it ended up biasing the result, please read the addendum and let me know your examples of men who have linguistic Indie Voice.

Features of Indie Voice

The transcriptions below will include both ad hoc spellings (e.g. "cheIst") and International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions ([tʃɛɪst]).

  • /ʌ/ 🔊 → [a] 🔊 . The vowel in words like butt and STRUT is pronounced higher, like 'a' in Spanish. This is found in older varieties of Received Pronunciation (Wells 1982:291-292).
    • "This is lav [lav] bat [bat]" (love [lʌv] but [bʌt]) Adele – Chasing Pavements (2008)
    • "Acting ap [ap]" (up [ʌp]) PomplamooseMusic – Single Ladies (2009)
    • "Lacky [laki], lucky me" (lucky [lʌki]) Kat Edmonson – Lucky (2012)
    • "You are not abav me" (above [əbʌv]) Allie Goertz – The Room Song (2013)
    • "You still hit my phone ap [ap]" (up [ʌp]) Halsey - Love Yourself (2016)
  • Dipthongization. This is one of the most distinctive features of Indie Voice – turning monophthongs into diphthongs. These diphthongs are closing diphthongs – they go from a low vowel to a high vowel. The one exception is /ʊ/ → [ʊɪ].
      /ɛ/ 🔊 → [ɛɪ] 🔊 . The vowel in words like "dress" has a short 'ih' added to it at the end.
    • "nearly put to deIth [dɛɪθ]" (death [dɛθ]) CocoRosie – Lemonade (live) (2010)
    • "I must confeiss [kənfɛɪs], when I wear this dreiss [drɛɪs]" (confess [kənfɛs] dress [drɛs]) Meiko – Stuck On You (2013)
    • "I don't ever think about deIth [dɛɪθ]" (death [dɛθ]) Lorde – Glory & Gore (2013)
    • "Carves into my hollow cheIst [tʃɛɪst]" (chest [tʃɛst]) Halsey – Drive (2015)
    • "...My freIndz [frɛɪnz]" (friends [frɛnds]) Halsey - Love Yourself (2016)
      /ʌ/ 🔊 → [ʌɪ] 🔊 . The vowel in words like "just" has a short 'ih' added to it at the end.
    • "Buit [bʌɪt] ships are fallible, I say" (but [bʌt]) Joanna Newsom – Bridges and Balloons (2004)
    • "I cannot ruh-in [rʌɪn] now" (run [rʌn]) Amy Winehouse – Wake Up Alone (2006)
    • "She's up all night for good fuIn [fʌɪn]" (fun [fʌn]) Daughter – Get Lucky (2013)
    • "I’ll be the wuIn [wʌɪn]" (one [wʌn]) Pitbull ft Kesha – Timber (2013)
    • "JuIst [dʒʌɪst] let me be" (just [dʒʌst]) Bebe Rexha – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up (2015)
    • "...cold to the tuItch [tʌɪtʃ]" (touch [tʌtʃ]) Shawn Mendes – Stitches (2015)
    • " look that muitch [mʌɪtʃ]" (much [mʌtʃ]) Halsey - Love Yourself (2016)
      Other: /ʊ/ 🔊 → [ʊɪ] 🔊 , /ɑ/ 🔊 → [ɑɪ] 🔊 , /ɔ/ 🔊 → [ɔɪ] 🔊 . The vowels in "book," "spa," and "caught" respectively have a short 'ih' added on to them at the end. Note that "on" appears here with two different representations because the singers have different pronunciations.
    • "I just wanna look guid [gʊɪd] for you" (good [gʊd]) Selena Gomez – Good For You (2015)
    • "then you swore oIn [ɑɪn]" (on [ɑn]) MisterWives – Our Own House (2015)
    • "If you think that I'm still holding oIn [ɔɪn] [...] and baby I be moving oIn [ɔɪn]" (on [ɔn]) Halsey – Love Yourself (2016)
  • /eɪ/ 🔊 → [æɪ] 🔊 . This feature is also found in Cockney English (Wells 1982:307) and some Southern American accents.
    • "They were inflAEimed [flæɪmz]" (flames [fleɪmz]) CocoRosie – Lemonade (live) (2010)
    • "That boy's got my heart in a silver cAEige [kæɪdʒ]" (cage [keɪdʒ]) Flight Facilities – Crave you ft. Giselle (2010)
    • "The rules of the gAEime [gæɪm]" (game [geɪm]) Grace Vanderwaal – I Don't Know My Name (2016)
  • R-Vocalization. Here, the r sound is replaced with an 'ee' [i] or 'ih' [ɪ] sound. This is unusual and not found in any accent that I am aware of.
    • "Even if it leads no-wey [noʊwɛi]" (nowhere [noʊwɛə]) Adele – Chasing Pavements (2008)
    • "Never saw you befoi [bəfɔɪ] [...] let me show you the doi [dɔɪ]" Allie Goertz (before [bəfɔ:] door [dɔ:]) – The Room Song (2013)
  • /ɪ/ 🔊 -> [i] 🔊 . The lax 'ih' sound is turned into the tense 'ee' sound, so that words like "kit" sound more like "keet." This is a curious one: these singers do not have Indie Voice, but you can hear the Chrish vine has "keechen" as pronunciation of "kitchen," which suggests it is part of the Indie Voice.
    • "Moon speelin' [spilɪn] in" (spillin' [spɪlɪn]) Amy Winehouse - Wake Up Alone (2006)
    • "Thees [ðis] is love [...] I am in love weeth [wiθ] you" (this [ðɪs] with [wɪθ]) Adele - Chasing Pavements (2008)
    • "What kind of man loves like thees [ðis]?" (this [ðɪs]) Florence + the Machine - What Kind of Man (2015)
  • /aɪ/ 🔊 -> [ɑɪ] 🔊 . The first element in the diphthong in words like RIDE is pronounced lower. This can be found in London English (Wells 1982:308) and some New York accents.
    • "I've been so caught up in mah-y [mɑɪ] job" (my) Halsey - Love Yourself (2016)
    • "If love is a lie [lɑɪ]" (lie [laɪ]) Bebe Rexha - I Don't Wanna Grow Up (2015)
    • "Mai [mɑɪ] sister's friend" (my [maɪ]) Grace Vanderwaal – I Don't Know My Name (2016)

Origins of Indie Voice

Who started indie voice? I've seen a lot of people say that artists as diverse as Regina Spektor, Bjork, Kate Bush, and Connie Rae Bailey were the inspiration. These are post-hoc explanations by people on the outside talking about indie voice. I've done a cursory look at the musicians mentioned in this article to see if there was some musician that they all say influenced them, but there were no real recurring names. There are examples of indie voice without the distinct sound changes in 2005, which suggests that the singing style itself dates back to that time.

As for the sound changes, the earliest example of diphthongization happening in Folk Indie Voice back in 2004. This is a pretty isolated example - I had a hard time finding pre-2010 examples of Indie Voice sound changes, so these pronunciations may not have yet been common at the time. Some examples that do not have the Indie voice but do demonstrate the sound changes are from this period: Amy Winehouse and Adele. Taken as a whole, this period of Indie Voice has a lot less diphthongization, more STRUT-raising, and more /eɪ/ → [æɪ].

  • "Buit ships are fallible, I say, " Joanna Newsom – Bridges and Balloons (2004)
  • "moon speeling in / I cannot ruin now" Amy Winehouse – Wake Up Alone (2006)
  • "Thees is lav bat /no wey" Adele – Chasing Pavements (2008)
  • "Acting ap, drink in my cup" PomplamooseMusic – Single Ladies (2009)
  • "They were in flAEims / nearly put to deIth" CocoRosie – Lemonade (live) (2010)
  • "In a silver cAEige [AEi]" Flight Facilities – Crave you ft. Giselle (2010)
  • "Lacky lucky me" Kat Edmonson – Lucky (2012)
  • "Never saw you befoi/let me show you the doi/you are not abav me" Allie Goertz – The Room Song (2013)
  • "ɑi started to cry" Nataly Dawn and Lauren O’Connell – I Started A Joke (2013)
  • “I must confeIss, when I wear this dreIss” Meiko – Stuck On You (2013)
  • "Good fuIn" Daughter – Get Lucky (2013)

Around 2013 seems to be when Folk Indie Voice starts crossing over to pop music and creating its own thing, the Pop Indie Voice. As mentioned above, the voice becomes thinner and more spread out compared to the breathy, waifish Folk Indie Voice.

  • "I’ll be the wuIn" Pitbull ft Kesha – Timber (2013)
  • "Guid for you" Selena Gomez – Good For You (2015)
  • "Hollow cheIst" Halsey – Drive (2015)
  • "JuIst let me be" Bebe Rexha – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up (2015)
  • "Then you swore oIn" MisterWives – Our Own House (2015)
  • "TuItch" Shawn Mendes – Stitches (2015)
  • "What kind of man loves like thees?" Florence + the Machine - What Kind of Man (2015)
  • "Rules of the gaeim/mai sister's friend" Grace Vanderwaal - I Don't Know My Name (2016)

Explaining Indie Voice

Linguistically, there is no singular source of Indie Voice. A handful of these changes (/aɪ/ -> ɑɪ, /eɪ/ → [æɪ], /ʌ/ → [a]) appear in London English or Received Pronunciation. It is therefore possible that many indie singers were influenced by some earlier singer(s) from England who sang with their native accent. This explanation is complicated by the fact that these sound changes aren't unique to London English. /aɪ/ -> ɑɪ also appears in New York City English, and /eɪ/ → [æɪ] appears in Southern American English. The simpler explanation is that there was a single source for all three instead of each pronunciation coming from a different source.

The most distinctive feature of indie voice, the diphthongization, has no ready analogue in varieties of English. It does have an interesting pattern: diphthongization often happens when a single-syllable word is being sung in two syllables, and the second syllable is higher in pitch. Moreover, the consonants following the diphthongized vowel are alveolar consonants, near the alveolar ridge. The ‘i’ in these diphthongs is a close front vowel, meaning it’s near the alveolar ridge. It’s possible that this diphthongization developed as a side effect of trying to reach the higher note while staying on the same word and then moving to an alveolar consonants. The starting point of the diphthongs are almost all low in the mouth, meaning that the tongue would have to travel farther to get to the alveolar consonant. This may also explain the very unusual R-vocalization found in the “The Room Song” and “Chasing Pavements.”

It is notable that the diphthongization found in folk indie songs and early pop songs, to my ears, sounds subtler compared to the diphthongization found in the later pop indie songs. The "buit" from Joanna Newsom and "deith" from Lorde sound much less pronounced next to the "tuitch" of Shawn Mendes and the "guid" of Selena Gomez. The diphthongization may be something that became more exaggerated with time.

As for /ɪ/ -> [i], your guess is as good as mine.

Why Did Indie Voice Develop?

It's all good and well to document the history of indie voice and to note the sound changes associated with it. But I am certain many of you are still left with the question of why Indie Voice exists in the first place. Why do singers continue to sing in this style?

Some commenters, such as Kelly Hoppenjams and Rachael Lawrence, have suggested that Indie Voice is a matter of “trying to sound different” – the idea being that pronouncing things a little unusually will cause people to remember you, even if it is as “that singer who says guId.” The problem is that, as demonstrated by the fact that we can identify all these singers as Indie Voice singers, it doesn’t really help them stand out as much as it helps them blend into a style that already exists.

Perhaps the best way to understand Indie Voice is that it's really about fitting into the requirements of a musical genre. As mentioned above, some of the characteristics do appear in English English - we can speculate that some of these pronunciations may have originated with an English English singer, and then other singers copied that singing style. It bears repeating that the indie girl voice is a phenomenon restricted to singing, not speaking. Grace Vanderwaal, who was 12 at the time of this recording, can be heard speaking in General American before launching into her song.

If someone spoke like this, we would find it unusual because it does not correspond to any known variety of English. But when they come together in song, they form an immediately recognizable pattern that tells us what type of music the singer is trying to fit into. If you listen to and like singers with Indie Voice, you may be influenced by them and reproduce Indie Voice in your own singing. This is similar to singers who sing "babay" and "it's gonna be may". I doubt that pop singers singing "you're sweet to may" are consciously aware that they are doing these pronunciations or where they come from. It's just part of the register of pop singing at this point. The same seems to apply to Indie Voice. The exact origins of it may not be clear; trying to figure out why some changes stick and others fade away is, as John McWhorter says, the equivalent of trying to predict where bubbles appear in one’s soup.

Moving Forward from Banahnies and Avocaydies

Indie Voice is a divisive and distinctive style of singing, but it's been around in some form or other for 15 years. It would be interesting to see if this trend continues into the future, changes into something else, or disappears entirely. Moreover, what other distinctive registers can be found in music, which is more permissive of unusual pronunciations than regular speech? Understanding the trajectory of the Indie Voice helps us understand how new genre registers form in music, how quickly they are adopted, and what happens to them in the future.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to see more long-form articles like this in the future, you can support me by buying me a coffee at Ko-Fi! ☕️

Works Cited

  • Wells, John 1982. Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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.