Welcome to Ace Linguist!

Welcome to Ace Linguist!

In a nutshell: Ace Linguist is a website dedicated to providing you with practical examples of linguistics in action.

The deluxe edition: My name is Karen and I am the webmaster for Ace Linguist. I have been fascinated with linguistics since I found out about the field in 2008, with a special interest in phonology and dialects of English. I graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics.

If you don't know what linguistics is, you can sum it up as the scientific study of language. This is an enormously broad field, looking at things like the sounds of language, language structure, and how language is used to construct meaning, among other things.

One of my disappointments concerning linguistics is that a lot of the material seems to rely on fabricated examples of things that happen, when real examples must be out there. Linguistics, as a social science with significant overlap with the humanities, is often dismissed as having little relevance to the "real world." My goal with Ace Linguist is to show that concepts in linguistics are not disconnected from reality but can in fact be linked directly to reality, and can be used to explain phenomena like "why do singers say 'babay' a lot" and "is Taylor Swift changing her accent." This site aims to function as an educational resource connecting linguistics to the real world.

If you don't know anything about linguistics, welcome! This site is beginner-friendly, so I will take the time to explain new concepts and link between pages to show how everything is interconnected. You do not need to have prior experience in linguistics to comment or contribute; amateur observations are more than welcome. If you have any questions or places where you think that I can explain something better, please contact me!

If you already know about linguistics, you are also welcome! You may be familiar with these concepts already, but explanations are only part of what I do here. The real meat of Ace Linguist is finding examples of interesting linguistic phenomena in real life and using linguistic tools to explain what is going on. I am more than happy to hear from advanced linguists and other fields of study, so be my guest in commenting. If you notice I've made any errors, please contact me as well!

Most of my examples so far come from sung music, an area that is near and dear to my heart. I focus on popular music because I am quite familiar with it and readers are usually familiar with these songs. I do not limit myself to the Top 40, though, and I will draw from all sorts of music. Other places where I may find examples include social media, books, the news, video games, and movies. My primary concern is that the examples are genuine - that is to say, they are not made up for the purpose of illustrating some phenomena.

One of the draws of Ace Linguist is original research I put out on a particular topic. Unlike my regular posts, which tend to be about a page long, these posts are much longer and have audio examples, video, more extensive references, and some original work. I try to avoid doing "long posts" on a topic I feel has already been comprehensively covered on the internet (although if someone beats me to the punch, well, it happens sometimes).

Whether you're an expert in linguistics or you just found out about it today, I'm glad to have you on the ride. Ace Linguist is a real passion project for me and I am happy I can share it with everyone. I hope you will keep on joining me as the site grows.

- Karen


  1. OMG what an amazing website ! First off, I need to tell how I stumbled upon it: I was watching Kevonstage's "the whitest cover of Say my name" video on YT. It's a funny commentary on Ashley Tisdale and Debby Ryan's version of the 90's hit. Someone in the comments said "Why white girls think they killin it when they sing light and airy ?!lol". Not to make everything about race but I also did noticed that the breathy/scratchy/indie voice thing seem to be predominant amongst white singers. It's the internet so unfortunately I have to precise this: i'm not making any judgement here and the indie voice is not a good or bad thing, it's just a trend that, from what I've noticed, is predominant amongst white singers. So I was initially looking for articles or any type of information with a sociological approach to the indie voice phenomenon but instead i found your amazing, in-depth articles (both previous and recent versions) and I'm so glad I did !!! Your research, your writing, the way you're able to convey complexe information in such a clear way and without sounding pedantic... Wow i'm in awe!!! Thank you so much for the gold mine that is your website. PS: As you can probably tell, english is not my native tongue (french is) so I try to improve by reading in english, which is another one of the many reasons why I'm so happy to have found this site !!! Greetings from Switzerland ^^

    1. I am very happy that my website has been useful to you. I would like to make linguistic research more accessible to people across the world. Thank you for your comment!

  2. this entire blog is like a thesis. you should have a phD or something. this is so awesome!