Linguistics Links!

Since there was some interest in my ling interest I thought I'd make a quick link dump of a wide variety of papers and articles for people to poke around in. Linguistics is huUuUgE and I get excited about everything!!!!! but this way maybe we can narrow down what I should teach a workshop on or as always ask me anything. I have even more links.

when you go to school for this shit you start with phonetics and move "up" in language size bits so I'll order the list like that, but you should skip around to whatever


IPA chart w/ audio- the International Phonetic Alphabet is an attempt to make each language sound correspond with one symbol. This is useful if you're trying to learn a language, but also if you're trying to transcribe a specific accent. This sentence looks the same but would be read differently by an Oregonian vs. a Southerner, IPA is a way to get that down for analysis. (there's a "famous" NYC & class analysis using 'r' pronunciation eg) More face manipulation

Click Languages- an old post I wrote about clicks

Sounds English speakers have a hard time differentiating - you are maybe familiar with l/r getting confused by Japanese speakers, or yesterday some of us were talking about 'z,' but what sounds generally give U.S. English speakers trouble? 

Fake English, more fake english - because the "usable" phonetics for any one language are pretty different, you can use common sounds but in gibberish ways

#PronouncingThingsIncorrectly - yes, those vines. the game is a little bit phonetic and a little bit other things but yeah 

What it means to "sound gay" -  so even though hard phonetics is not my jam, it's a very basic thing that can of course be manipulated for sociological (the socio of socioling) reasons. This is actually written by one of my undegrad profs who I absolutely adore

Gender as stylistic bricolage: Transmasculine voices and the relationship between fundamental frequency and /s/ - lol I was the research assistant for several of Lal's papers so I can really get into these. Also hi I shoot testosterone into my leg every week, lotta experience with voice change. 

this is the word "arm" in Korean ( 팔 /pʰaɭ/ ). you can use this to calculate the length of the speaker's vocal track if you really want!

this is the word "arm" in Korean ( 팔 /pʰaɭ/ ). you can use this to calculate the length of the speaker's vocal track if you really want!


Morphology is basically looking at "smallest meaningful sound chunks" of a language. In some languages that's usually syllable-sized & in others it's not—for example in English " 's " is not a syllable but spoken adds the meaning of "possesor" ("syd's blog"). 

Why is the plural of 'moose' not 'meese'? — I can't think of any favorite morphology papers rn, but it comes up especially for me when talking about contact languages. English is basically a nightmare creole full of irregularities, so depending on where we loan a word from we have the option to also borrow that language's pluralizing morphology. That choice also gets extra meaning added to it; for example if you choose to turn octopus into octopuses people will understand you, but some smartass will invariable tell you the plural is "octopi." However that's borrowing the morphology of Latin, octopus is actually Greek in root and therefor the plural 'should' be "octopodes."  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  ydy

Esperanto is super neat morphology-wise I'll try to find an article. 

Infixes like "un-fucking-believable" are about morphology rules, and curiously the only ones English seems to have are for cursing 


I hate syntax a little bit but that's bc it was taught to me in an unpleasant way, it's actually very very cool. It gets messy to explain very quickly but in general it's looking at the order of phrases in a language.

Yoda's Syntax- this covers basic syntax and Yoda's particular variety well. 

Valence - lil more nitty gritty on how verbs work

Syntax studies also include this idea of an "underlying grammar" that speakers know internally that then might actually come out differently. Chomsky's Big Thing was proposing that maybe there is a "Universal Grammar" system that we all have, that then depending what languages we're raised with/learn manifests differently. Linguists are still mixed on how much they agree with UG. 

In English we have this "wh-fronting" of questions words, the idea being they "move" from where the subject would otherwise be.

In English we have this "wh-fronting" of questions words, the idea being they "move" from where the subject would otherwise be.


Semiotics & semantics in formal linguistics is more like a sort of logic thing. I'm not really about it, but the point is it generally happens on the multiple-words level. Discourse is also considered to be in the multiple-word level and could extend from a sentence to even a whole speech. (this is not Discourse in the foucaldian power-discourse sense, see later). If you wanna look at intonation, mood, any overarching sort of things that's here. I can't think of any only-discourse articles so I'm just gonna jump on to the big picture


hell yeah!!! literally everything people do with words can fall under here. And people do so many things.


What if we talked about monolingual white children the way we talk about low-income children of color? - multilingualism in the US is a hot mess because there's very much an ideology towards English-only (specifically White, middle-class English), which directly stems from it being a currently globally useful language. Do You Speak American is a long but pretty cool overview documentary you might poke through. Also lots of unsorted snippets here.

Spanish-English Codeswitching in Email Communication - what it sounds like. I also have a pet project of looking at code-switching/loans in non-English pop/hip-hop and what those musicians are trying to index (also have a whole paper on that video si quieres) 

Linguistic Racism/AAE

African-American English, not an uncomplicated name choice but I prefer it to African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) and Ebonics sort of got politically tainted (also like… "ebony" + "phonics" isn't gr8 either). More snippets 

AAE & English as Bilingual Classroom - in 1996 Oakland passed a vote that not only was Ebonics its own language but also the majority language in the city. This caused huge controversy and has since been amended but look at this amazing classroom clip!! The kids know so much about grammar! AAE(aka probably their home language) is respected!

When it comes to Rachel Jeantel, who’s really on trial here? - the Zimmerman trial brought out all kinds of racism, including linguistic, surprise! 

Fear of a Black Phonology: The Northern Cities Shift as Linguistic White Flight - (I should have this pdf somewhere if this doesn't work) 

There's soOoO much more on this but I'll stop there, I do have stuff on "mock asian" accents, and obviously this occurs between languages other than English & ______. 

Corpus Linguistics/Internet Linguistics

now that we have ways to get a lotta words all at once it's easy to analyze them! These are separate fields but I'm lumping them bc they go well together

Deciphering The Menu - Linguist talking about how we talk about food in yelp reviews. 

That Way We're All Taking Now

Because grammar

ugh my favorite analysis of the doge meme was on The Toast aka now gone

Linguistic Innovation on Twitter

(Soft) Power Discourses

Confucius Institutes — Many countries have a language-teaching government approved institute, and unsurprisingly China's comes with a lot of politics (Taiwan as Taiwan-Province, eg). 

Literacy as a Tool of Development - oops self-plug, but similar to English in the US, Mandarin in China is not an uncomplicated agenda. 

Esperanto & Anarchism - another pet interest. Esperanto was constructed by a Russian Jewish immigrant and very ideologically motivated, and then spread in really interesting ways and very part of bringing Marxism to China (hmu for that pdf) 


Emoji - Potentials for Multiplatform Miscommunication, Why Do Emoji Face Left?, and again my pet peeve is comparing them to hieroglyphics but apparently I gotta write my own article on that. tldr; emoji can't stand alone & hieroglyphics aren't little pictures it's an ideogrammatic system like Mandarin. 

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Interfaces are Complicated: The Chinese Typewriter - Some things work better for some orthographies than others. Now with touchscreens a variety of keyboards/inputs is possible always 

Second Class Languages in Unicode - "I can text you a pile of poo, but I can't write my name." 

Deep dive Japanese Writing System - three, and increasingly four, writing possibilities! generally I'm  interested in looking at languages that at one point used Chinese characters and then moved away either for literacy or grammatical reasons ( Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese… even China at one point considered full romanization). Or other adventures like Uyghur, or Mongolian that used a similar script but is now generally written in Cyrillic. Back in those power discourses & a dose of nationalism. 

chinese keyboard with four possible input systems

chinese keyboard with four possible input systems


Adolescent Language - Eckert is another big socioling name. Here she covers a couple things, among them the several distinct uses of "like" & high school clique language variation between "jocks and burners"

No Word For Dead Umbrellas? , Alexa Laughs , LanguageLog is really great but does vary from very technical to just fun recent news analysis. (there are definitly some tr*mp phonetic analysis somewhere there) 

Speaking in Queer Tongues - I have this book if you wanna poke through, but also so so so many articles. I should make a dropbox. Gender & Sexuality Discourse in the "War on Terror." Women's Language in Japanese Lolita Culture. The Role of Text in Televideo Cybersex. 

Re: language learning textbooks. I have written about this but it's Not Good so just talk to me. A Mandarin textbook I was just using used "women loosing weight" literally in ever grammar chapter. That's not neutral! Another hill I'm going to die on is grammatical gender is not social gender, the linguistic concept actually came first as a way to describe noun groupings—some languages have only 1! 3! or 8! or more! However this doesn't mean there's not strong overlap, but to me rather it implies that just because something is some way it doesn't have to stay that way. Eg Hebrew requires you to include gender in some verb conjugations—but wow surprise queer Hebrew speakers still exist. Similarly Spanish requires gendered adjectives, but there are people playing around with that (all the 'x'). These things may not be popular or in the State Sanctioned Dictionaries, but to say they are "wrong" is to deny linguistic change and propose that some speakers own a language more than others. It's more complicated, and I don't want to advocate for like full spelling chaos a la Olde English times, but the root of it is we made language up we can remake it. My personal take is that I don't try to innovate in a language I'm learning but seek out what's happening because there's never One Language. (this is me translating from a friend, I wouldn't read the other responses unless you want to get mad.)

A great book on gender becoming a hot mess social thing, originally to control intersex folks! 

if you made it this far I might as well tell you this was my undergrad thesis. it's A Lot but the intro/ch 1 is a good crash course through some stuff. This is maybe the book that really sold sociolinguistics to me 10/10 recommend, can be read by a general audience

more more more!