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March 22, 2022

Happy 6th birthday, Ace Linguist!

Yes, Ace Linguist has been around for 6 years! I've never properly celebrated the website's birthday before, mostly because I'd never settled on a proper date, but I figured the anniversary of the first ever post was a good place to focus.

6 years ago, I was on the verge of graduating university and entirely unsure of I was going to do with my life. I still vaguely dreamt of going to grad school to study dialectology, but that wasn't guaranteed. Feeling the need to shore up my resume a little, I embarked on a project that I was sure wouldn't amount to much - a personal blog to write about linguistics.

When I first got into linguistics, I was inspired by the wide variety of blogs out there - places like Language Log, Language Hat, John Wells's phonetic blog, and All Things Linguistic, to name a few. Running a website was a dream I'd had since I was a little kid (and I'd tried to make it come true multiple times before), and combining it with language felt natural. Even though I was certain that blogs were on their way out in 2016, I started one anyway.

The blog had a rough start, with some unfocused articles about morphology in Zootopia and the semantics of 'beating a game.' But I realized pretty soon that I wanted to do something relating to an interest of mine - collecting the phonetic details of pop music.

Dialect Dissections were born at least partially out of a sense of frustration at how people talked about accents. We have the tools to talk about phonetic changes and hear examples easily: audio samples and the International Phonetic Alphabet. When people say things like "I think Taylor Swift used to have a Southern accent," why not try to figure out which Southern features she had? I took on the task, not sure if anyone else would be interested. I was pleasantly surprised at the possitive reception!

And so here we are today. My pace has slowed down since 2018 as my life has gotten much busier. My ambitions may outscale my schedule, but luckily I have time on my side. Here's to more years of Ace Linguist, and to more linguistics on the web!

- Karen

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