An Interview with Gretchen McCulloch: Transcript



MIGNON: Grammar Girl here. I'm Mignon Fogarty, and today I'm here with Gretchen McCulloch, the internet linguist who is behind the blog All Things Linguistic and part of the podcast Lingthusiasm.

But I'm talking to her today because she has a new book out called "Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language." I'm excited to talk to her about it. And I hope you enjoy the conversation, too. 

Before we start, I do have quick announcement. I’m doing another AP style webinar in August, and this time it’s ADVANCED AP style. It’s live on August 20, but if you register you also get a recording. You can learn more or register at bit.ly/APStyle2019 and I’ll put that link in the show description you should be able to see in your podcast player. And now, on to the show.

Hey, Gretchen, thanks for being here with me today.

GRETCHEN: Hello. Thanks for having me.

MIGNON: You're welcome. I'm so excited about your new book because I've been following you for years, you've even wrote a couple of things for the Grammar Girl podcast and now you, it's like you're all grown up and you have your own book.

GRETCHEN: So yeah, the Grammar Girl podcasts, actually the very first place that I wrote when I started writing for the public. So it's all for you.

MIGNON: Oh, my gosh, I'm so happy to hear that. I didn't know that. That's wonderful.

GRETCHEN: Yeah, that was what kind of feeble idea that maybe people would actually be interested in pop linguistics.

MIGNON: Can I say I discovered you?

GRETCHEN: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MIGNON: What are you going to say? No, right.

GRETCHEN: I'm pretty sure, I don't if you've gotten to the acknowledgment section, but I think I might have even thanked you there.

MIGNON: Oh, no, I haven't read the acknowledgements yet. No.

Well, if I haven't. Now I feel like a jerk, but.

MIGNON: Wonderful.

GRETCHEN: Well, so one of the reasons I'm really excited to talk to you is because a complaint I often hear, you know, is about kids these days on the internet and they do all this weird writing. And, you know, a lot of adults or older people think that kids are just lazy or don't know how to use English. And your research and book is a whole exploration into why that's not true. And I tell people it's not true, but I'm not great at explaining it because I'm not a kid, and I haven't spent, you know, years looking into internet language. But you have. And so you can explain why kids today actually know what they're doing.

Yeah. One of the things that I think is so interesting when you look at internet language is that many of the things that people do in internet styles actually take more effort rather than less effort. And so I'm going to say somethings lazy. Well, how are you lazy if you're going to actually more effort than doing things in a standard sort of way. And why?

MIGNON: So what's an example?

GRETCHEN: Yeah! One example of this is writing things in all lowercase or writing words in, you know, slang words or respelling words so that they match your pronunciation closer rather than matching how a dictionary might have them. And I did a survey of people and I said, "When you write on your phone, do you ever lowercase stuff deliberately for the state sake of esthetics?" And I had a lot of people say, "Yes, I lowercase. I actually override my phone settings where my phone's keyboard wants me to capitalize the beginning of every sentence, and I have to turn that off at each sentence to undo the capitalization. Or some people even said, I've gone into settings and I've turned off the setting that suggests I capitalized the beginning of every sentence because I don't want it.

MIGNON: And so. And why don't why?

GRETCHEN: Yeah, if you're going to more effort, that's that's the kind of opposite of lazy. Even if it's something that isn't doesn't it truly make sense to people who aren't used to seeing it. It's it's definitely very deliberate.

MIGNON: Right. And so why, why? Why don't some people want to capitalize the first word at the beginning of a sentence, for example?

GRETCHEN: There's a couple different reasons why people do this.

One is because it could signal a certain type of tone of voice. It can signal a sort of flat affect or can signal a cuter tone or it can signal sort of a a deliberate monotone or a more playful tone, or another reason that people do this is because it it's a reaction against authority. It's a way of rebelling or it's a way of saying, "I don't respect this enough to capitalize it," or "I don't think of this as meriting capitalization." I did a survey about this, which I think we talked about on Twitter actually about do people ever lowercase brand names because they don't want to show that much respect for the brand. They don't want to show that, you know, that this brand is something that merits their respect or that they're taking the brand seriously or they're sounding like a PR person rather than an ordinary person. And a lot of people said to me, "Yeah, I don't capitalize a word like 'YouTube' or word like 'Facebook' or something like that, because I don't want to be seen as if I actually cared that much about these platforms. They serve me. I don't serve them."

MIGNON: That's so fascinating, and I loved how you said--and this is a quote or paraphrase from your book--you know, that we should assume that language stuff which baffles us or seems weird actually has genuine, important meaning to the people who use it. So we should strive to understand what that meaning is and not just, you know, criticize it.

GRETCHEN: Yeah, exactly. It's really easy to get hung up when we talk about language in terms of what's right. But what's right is really just what's the norms according to some group of people, and different groups of people have different types of norms. Like we don't talk about which clothing is right. We recognize that people have different clothes that they wear for different purposes and different subcultures have different clothes where to signal their membership in that subculture. And language is that kind of thing that, you know, has a variety of purposes, has a variety of subcultures and different people value different things and they can express that through language.

MIGNON: Right. And the internet language is, it's like a different platform, it's a different space in which people are writing, so we can't expect the same norms that we would in like a document or a book on Twitter or in a text message.

GRETCHEN: Yeah, exactly. I think it's, you know, when it comes to speaking, we're all aware that there's a variety of different ways to speak. You know, the way that someone speaks on the radio or on television or on a podcast isn't the same way as even that same person speaks when they go home and they talk to their dog. Or when.

MIGNON: Right. It's like a form of comfort. Would you call that code switching?

GRETCHEN: Well, there's code switching, which is often code switching is between specific styles. So, you know, if you speak African-American English or something and then you can also speak more like white people, you can have a different code switch between kind of more specific styles, but everyone has access to different registers and different styles. You know, even within the same dialect or the same accent, you speak differently to a baby than you do to your boss.

MIGNON: All right. Thank you. I appreciate that. Because sometimes I still get confused about the linguistic terms like code switching and register and things like that. So I appreciate it.

GRETCHEN: Yeah, but the thing is with with writing, we're not used to the idea that writing can also have different registers. You know, there's a formal type of writing and, you know, formal company websites are still in a very formal style or news websites are still in the very formal style. But then there's also the way we talk to each other back and forth. And it'd be weird if you talk to your friends the same way you talk to your boss. So it's that there are different ways of going back and forth on the Internet as well.

MIGNON: Right.

GRETCHEN: One way you explained it that I thought was really great was when you talked about the introduction of the telephone. Right? The telephone was a new technology. None of us were really around when that happened. But it created the same kind of consternation that people are feeling now about the internet. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Yeah, I love this. This quote that didn't make it into the book, but it was really interesting for me was when Mark Twain...He was one of the first telephone adopters, but he had really mixed feelings about this because he found it really disconcerting and weird. And, you know, what is the world coming to that? You could only hear half of a conversation because before the telephone, this wasn't something that no one had ever experienced, only hearing half of a conversation.


GRETCHEN: And, you know, he thought it was annoying that you overheard people's conversations. He thought that the half of the conversation was really bad. And you get some echoes of that, like people who take cell phone calls in public spaces and you have to overhear half the conversation there. But Mark Twain was like really against the old school landline. He was, he had a lot of mixed feelings about that.

MIGNON: Yeah, I like, I like the part in the book where you talk about older people and younger people and how they feel about being interrupted by a phone call versus someone responding to a text message, because I see that with my dad. He will take phone calls in the middle, you know, if we're out to eat, he'll take a phone call. And I just can't believe he does it. And I'm sure he feels the same way, like I can't believe I would take a break to respond to a text message during dinner. And it's such an interesting generational thing you pointed out that I hadn't really thought about before.

Yeah, there was this really interesting study from 1991 that I came across when I was researching the book, which found that the majority of people they surveyed in 1991 would answer a ringing telephone even during a serious argument with their spouse.

MIGNON: Hmm. Wow. 

GRETCHEN: Just because call display didn't exist at the time. So like whatever's on that phone, maybe it's urgent. Maybe it should be prioritized over the person that's in front of you who presumably you love very much. That you're having a high stakes emotional conversation with. And so when we talk about like, oh, well, the kids are ignoring the people in front of them to, you know, have conversations with unseen others. People were really willing to do this with a ringing telephone. And I did an informal replication of that study. And I asked a bunch of people, like, if you were in a high stakes emotional conversation with someone you love, would you answer a phone? And people were like, no. I mean, I don't even answer the phone when I'm not in a high stakes emotional conversation.

MIGNON: Like I should never answer my phone.

And I'm like, yeah, I don't know. Maybe, but I know if it's urgent, they could just text me.

MIGNON: Exactly. I think if it's important they'll leave a message or they'll send me an email. Yeah.

GRETCHEN: Yeah, exactly. Like, you know, people will answer it.

So texts allow us to kind of slip those, you know, conversations with unseen others into the gaps in a conversation. Like a lot of times, if I'm hanging out with some friends, we'll, you know, we'll be hanging out talking for half an hour or something and then someone will check their phone. And so everyone kind of checks their phone. And you have five minutes of everyone checking their phones, and then you go back to the conversation, and it's not seen as rude because you could have this sort of rhythm between things, but it would be seen as rude to answer a call or to call someone out of the blue because you don't know what's going on in their day. Like a lot of people have like one person maybe who can call them like their partner or something. And everybody else is like, why are you calling me?

MIGNON: Right. Exactly. Another thing that fascinated me that you said in your book, "Because Internet," is you said the internet really is making language change faster. And I think a lot of people have that sense. But I think you you can explain more like why that really is.

GRETCHEN: Yes. So one thing, when you look at the study of language change is language changes based on our interactions with each other. You know, you when you encounter a new word or a new expression from somebody, you decide to pick it up yourself and then you, you know, you pass it on and the more you encounter it, the more likely you are to pick it up. And the way that it changes specifically in those interactions is it's important to have weak ties in order to be exposed to more new words. So if your close ties are like your best friends, your people who are really densely embedded in your your social network, who you have a lot of friends in common with. And they're often very close to you. They're often very important relationships, but they're not necessarily relationships that are gonna expose you to a lot of new information because you already have basically all your friends in common with that person. Whereas a weak tie, somebody that you don't see is often who you don't have mutual friends with, they're going to be more likely to expose you to new information because you have such different social networks.

And so weak ties are really important for language change because they let something spread beyond just being an inside joke to actually spreading to a larger social network. You know, weak ties are how things go viral. If I just share a funny gif with like my friends, it's not viral, it's just an inside joke. But if it spreads through weak ties, then it's, it's going viral and words can go viral as well. Or words can get picked up through weak ties. And that's how the internet can make language change happen faster. But there's also an interesting sense in which various things about the internet can also make language more conservative, because we have a lot of tools now on our devices which try to help us with language, you know, auto-correct and spellcheck and things like this. And those can sometimes push us to be more conservative because well, if auto correct says that's how you spell it, then I guess that's how you spell it. Whereas when we're writing things by hand, we didn't have that invisible helper, you know, trying to regularize our spelling. So it was easy to be more divergent.

MIGNON: Oh, that makes sense. Are we, are we losing British spellings because auto-correct tends to push American spellings?

GRETCHEN: Well, there's actually a fascinating story there. And I came across this in Lynne Murphy's book about American versus British English, which is that British English for a long time has used both the -ISE and the -IZE spellings in words like "analyze" and "realize." But when Microsoft Word spellcheck was introduced to the UK in the '90s, their American version had all the -IZE spellings, and their British version had all -ISE spellings, because one piece of advice that people do give you is like if you're going to use -IZE, you use it in the whole document. If you're going to use -ISE, use it in the whole document. Don't like switch back and forth in the same document. And the way that Word, British, the British edition of Word decided to enforce that was OK, the Brits are just using -ISE everywhere. Even though, you know, the Oxford University Press style guide, for example, had had -IZE the whole time. So British people encountering spellcheck this way decided that, oh, spellcheck  is recommending -ISE. That must be the British spelling. -IZE must be an Americanism even though it had been used in Britain concurrently this entire time. And you can see British spelling shift toward this -ISE spelling basically on influence of spellcheck.

MIGNON: Oh, wow. That's amazing. Okay.

GRETCHEN: You're completely confused.

MIGNON: Right? Oh, I know. It's so hard when people ask me about Canadian English. Okay. We're gonna take a quick break. For our sponsors. And when we come back, we're going to talk about some more specifics and some really interesting anecdotes from the book.

GRETCHEN: Fantastic.

MIGNON: Welcome back. So I was writing about formal English just a couple days ago and how people really like patterns like in bulleted lists. You want to make all your list elements grammatically parallel. And then I read that in the first few pages of your book, you were already talking about patterns in internet language, so it'd be great if you could talk about some...why patterns are important and why people love them.

GRETCHEN: Patterns are just so much a part of what we do as people. And the example that I was talking about right at the beginning of "Because Internet" was patterns and keysmash, you know, the thing where you kind of like mash your fingers against the keyboard because you're, you know, feeling angry or upset or excited and you have such a strong emotion, you can't actually type words. And so you just type, you know, random, incoherent monkey smashing on the keyboard.

MIGNON: Mmm hmm.

GRETCHEN: And you think, "OK, if there's anywhere that's genuinely random and chaotic and we surely shouldn't expect patterns, surely it's got to be keysmash." And actually it's not even words. You can't even pronounce it. Well, I had to pronounce it because I was doing the audio book of my own book.

MIGNON: Oh, how did you pronounce it?

GRETCHEN: Well, you'll have to listen to the audiobook to find out.


GRETCHEN: They...the producer that was listening on was like, I had no idea how you're going to do that, but I think it kind of works.

MIGNON: So, yeah.

GRETCHEN: So keysmash, what you'd really expect to have no patterns whatsoever, it turns out it really does. And I, again, I surveyed people that I said you know, you know, what kind of patterns do you produce? But also, if you do a keysmash and it doesn't look like kind of the right kind of keysmash. Do you ever adjust a few letters or delete and remash to try to get like the right keysmash? And the majority people do. Like there's only around, yeah, 20 percent people that are like keysmash purists, that really just put whatever comes out and everyone else is like, yeah, you know, I adjust it. And I heard from some people who use the Dvorak keyboard. So, you know, this is a keyboard that's supposed to be like more efficient. It's doesn't have QWERT; it has the letters in different a different order and.

MIGNON: Yeah, yeah.

GRETCHEN: On the home row, like the middle row, instead of having ASDF, it has all the vowels because, you know, you use the vowels a lot so it makes sense to have them right under your fingers. And several people unsolicited commented on my poll saying, "Yeah, I use the Dvorak keyboard, and I just can't keysmash at all anymore because it looks too incoherent in like the wrong way."

MIGNON: And that's such a great example of how it's not people being lazy. They'll go back and edit their strings of letters that are supposed to be random.

GRETCHEN: Exactly. And we're trying to make stuff socially legible to other people, even when what we're doing is as incoherent as being kind of random monkeys on a keyboard trying to produce the works of Shakespeare.

MIGNON: Yeah. I don't, I don't think I've ever done a keysmash, but I, when I use growlix a lot to represent swear words, the random string of characters like you'd see in a cartoon.

GRETCHEN: But it's not random, is it?

MIGNON: It's not random! I do it and it can look wrong, and I'll go back and I'll tweak characters to try to make it look like it should. And I'm when I'm doing it, I think why am I wasting my time on this? It's supposed to be random. But if it doesn't look right, it really bothers me.

GRETCHEN: I had someone come up to me after I gave a talk somewhere about internet linguistics, and she was like, "Can you explain to me why my dad uses emoji like ungrammatically?" I was like this is really interesting because, again, these are strings of of pictures. What do you mean that they can have a grammar to you? Like what? What is it that you're noticing about what your dad's doing that's different from what you would do?

MIGNON: And what was it?

GRETCHEN: I mean, I had to pull out some some texts and so on. I think it was a lot of. So it turns out when people use emoji, often what they do is there's kind of two, there's kind of two main ways that people use emoji. And both of them are...so you have some sort of text that the emoji is either after in the same message or someone else was responding to a message with an emoji. So I'm like, "I'll be there soon," and then you send a smiley face. You know, that's responding to my message. Or if I'm like, I'll be there soon. And then I put a smiley face. That's me kind of interpreting the message.

And what a lot of older people who have assumptions about emoji do instead of having the emoji at the end of the message to provide this kind of interpretation over the content is they sub out specific words for emoji.

So "Have you fed the cat yet?" And then if your cat, they'll put the actual cat drawing.


GRETCHEN: And this is not what younger people do it all. So older people see emoji and they interpret it like a rebus. Do you remember those like puzzles that you would get.

That would have like "to be or not to be." And it was like a bumblebee and like an oar that you would paddle a boat with and that could [unitelligible]

MIGNON: I never knew that had a name.

GRETCHEN: Yeah. So those are rebuses, and they're really fun puzzles. I did them when I was a kid, too. But they're not how people use emoji.


GRETCHEN: Except for a few people who kind of interpret emoji as rebuses is, and they're kind of doing their own thing, and the majority of emoji users aren't doing rebus emoji.

MIGNON: Yeah, that's great. I have to say, as I was reading your book, I felt like I'm definitely not a quote kid today, but I do a lot of the things you describe. So I felt like, oh, I'm so hip.

GRETCHEN: This is a chronic problem.

Even as I was writing it, I'm like, "Oh, no, I'm getting older like, am I even disagree. I think the kids anymore?" I had to, like, have youth consultants to be like, "Is this still cool? Is this still cool?"

MIGNON: Yeah. That's so smart that you did that. It's important.

GRETCHEN: It's really important.

So I think people sometimes people read the book and they're like, "Oh, you said that older people do this, so now I'm going to stop it." It doesn't mean it's wrong if older people do it, like you are allowed to be proud of being an older person. But you can also be proud of being a older person without grumbling at what other, at what kids are doing.

MIGNON: Yes, exactly. Exactly. So I had an episode about double modals a few years ago. Like "might could" like "We might could go to the store." And you had a section about how Twitter research sort of revealed more about how people use those kind of constructions. And it's such a great example of how access to Twitter and these huge databases of the way people, quote, talk online is giving us more information than we've ever had before. Can you talk about the double modals? Can you talk about the double modal study? (That's hard to say.)

GRETCHEN: Yeah, absolutely. So this is research by Jack Grieve. And I was at a conference where he gave this talk. The first kind of Twitter study about double modals. And he prefaced it by showing these quotes from the 1970s where prominent researchers had said, you know, "might could", "might should" we know they exist. But it's just gonna be impossible to ever research them because they show up so rarely that if you're doing a conventional, like one hour recorded interview, you might get one example. And you've got an hour of audio data, which was a whole bunch to sift through. You never gonna be able to get a good sized corpus. And people don't generally use them in writing. And then, you know, when Twitter came along, and especially because a certain proportion of people who use Twitter geotag their tweets for their exact location that they're tweeting from Jack Grieve and his collaborators got the idea that like, OK, you could actually search for these because of course you can search for the string "might could" or "might should" it or "might could oughta." One of my favorites, the triple modal.

And you could find out and they found that some double modals were being used more in some areas and some were being used more in other areas. So it wasn't just that they were all over the south, it's that some were more common in the upper south versus the lower south, and that, you know, they they do exist. And here are some other contexts that they're found in and these kinds of things. And it was such an interesting example of people using informal language on the internet and that this actually lets us study things because informal language is really interesting.

MIGNON: Yeah. Oh, it's fascinating. So at the end of the Grammar Girl podcast, we usually do a familect story, which is, you know, someone calls in with a word that their family and only their family uses or, you know, we actually it's finding we're finding out like people say, well, my family uses that, too. But people think it's only their family that will use certain words. And you talked about you had a section about this kind of shared private vocabulary develops. So I thought that would be a great way to end the podcast is to talk about that.

GRETCHEN: Yeah. I think the thing that excites people about Familect is this idea that, you know, you can you can develop a new word in your family, and somehow that's cool. And because we don't have, like, new words are often a sort of inkblot test for what we think about the people that say the words.

And when it comes to the family, people often have very positive emotions about their childhood and their family and the kind of special memories in their family. Whereas when a new word is invented by teenagers, people often have anxiety about teenagers, or if a new word is invented by the workplace and business people, people are often don't particularly like their jobs and so they don't like that word either. And so it's often a way of we often project our feelings about the social context on to particular new words. We actually have a whole episode about familects that's also coming out on Lingthusiasm.

So I guess links are in the zeitgeist right now.

MIGNON: Yeah, I think so, yes.

Oh, so it's fun when your toddler says "lasterday," but when that guy you already don't like at work talks about "calendaring" a meeting, you don't have the same positive feelings about that new use of the word.

GRETCHEN: Yeah, exactly. Or if you're, you know, if you're worried that the teenagers are already, you know, like having too much sex or doing too many drugs, that these kinds of things, then, you know, any word that they come up with becomes an excuse to to give them a hard time. Or if you're worried that the internet is leading to the downfall of society, then any new internet word like, oh, now people are saying "LOL," like, maybe this is a problem. So I think it's, it's useful to think of our attitudes towards language as just a reflection of our attitudes toward the people who have a particular language.

MIGNON: Mm hmm. Okay, I lied. I want to ask you one more question.

GRETCHEN: So did you want a specific familect word from me? Or are you doing that as...?

MIGNON: If you have one, I didn't want to put you on the spot, but if you have one I'd love to hear it.

GRETCHEN: We just recorded an episode about them. So I have many.

MIGNON: Oh, yeah, right. Okay. Go ahead. Yeah, I'd love to hear it.

GRETCHEN: So one that came up for me in that episode--so here's the sneak peek--is my family uses the word "dijon" to mean something's fancier, the fancier version of something. And this is from, so there's a song called "If I Had a Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies, which was a Canadian group, but it became pretty popular elsewhere as well.

MIGNON: Yeah, I love that song.

GRETCHEN: Yeah, it's a catchy song. And they have this line about, like, all the stuff that they would buy with their million dollars. And some of it is like we buy ketchup, but not just the ordinary ketchup. We'd buy the dijon ketchup.

MIGNON: Oh, right. Yes. So it's like dijon mustard to dijon ketchup.

GRETCHEN: Dijon mustard is fancier mustard, so dijon ketchup must be the fancier  ketchup. But now it's like, oh, I you know had to rent a car, but they were all out of the ordinary cars. So when I was on my trip, so they gave me a dijon car, and that just means like I had a really good car.

MIGNON: That's so great. I love that.

GRETCHEN: I've told several friends about this because this is part of my vocabulary and it always requires an explanation.

MIGNON: I think I'm going to use that. I think that makes a lot of sense. You can really pick it up from context, like all you have to say is like dijon mustard is fancier, so why not?


MIGNON: So well, actually, what I want to know is what what was the most delightful thing that you discovered while you were working on your book? Because, I'm sure you did a lot of research.

GRETCHEN: Oh my gosh, that's a big question.

MIGNON: Yeah, I know it's putting you on the spot to pick one. But what was one of at least the most amazing things?

GRETCHEN: I think one thing that was really exciting for me was when I was working on the chapter about emoji, I had gotten kind of stuck with the analysis and actually ended up sending a draft of it to my co-host on the podcast, Lauren Gawne, who is an Australian linguist who's fantastic, and she has done a bunch of research about gesture. And she highlighted some of the stuff that I had done that I had been compiling to date. And she was like, actually, there's a word for this in the gesture literature, and there's a whole thing. And I was like, wait a second. The gesture literature is actually categorized like all of the different types of gestures that you can have. That's amazing. I thought it was only linguistics that did that kind of thing. I mean, gesture studies is it is is in linguistics as well. But it wasn't an area that I'd been exposed to in my schooling. And so I had this amazing deep dive into the gesture literature, just like reading all of her course materials. She sent me her syllabus while I was trying to write the book and incorporate that into the book. And the thing that I loved about linguistics when I first encountered it was, and I still love about linguistics, is that language is everywhere, and you're constantly being exposed to it. And you can be in a conversation with someone and then be like, oh, wait, sorry, I was just distracted by how cool your vowels were or you said this word, like, what do you mean by that? And so you always have something to analyze, and you always have something to consider.

And the cool thing about discovering the gesture literature was that the same thing was true for gesture. And so I was trying to write my book in a cafe. And I'm just looking around people at the other tables being like, oh, they're using this kind of gesture. They're doing this with the gesture. And I can tell who's talking based on who's gesturing. And I can tell, you know, hear all that. Here are the names of the styles of gestures that they're doing right now. And so here was this whole other subfield that I hadn't realized had the same level of complexity and had the same level of, you know, had a really good ontology of the world or had a really good taxonomy of the world that I could figure out, you know, how how things worked there. And so, you know, now we've done a gesture episode for the podcast for Lingthusiasm, and we've done more I've done more stuff learning about gesture. I have like gesture books in my apartment right now. So it's it's this whole other area that I knew I was going to be learning a lot about the internet, but I didn't realize that I was gonna be learning about this very face-to-face interaction type thing and how it actually also explains a lot about how and why people use emoji as well. This connection between these two fields, I would never have expect that to happen.

MIGNON: Well, that's wonderful. And thank you. And listeners, if you want to know more about the different categories of gesture, there is a section on it in Gretchen's book, which is called "Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language" and it's by Gretchen McCulloch, who's been here with us today. And she is also behind the blog All Things Linguistic and part of the team for the podcast Lingthusiasm. So thank you so much, Gretchen, for being here with me today. I loved our conversation.

GRETCHEN: Thank you so much for having me. This is so much fun.

MIGNON: Great. And where where's the best place for people to find you online?

GRETCHEN: You couldn't follow me at GretchenAMcC Twitter and my website is just GretchenMcCulloch.com. Google will generally catch most of the ways you can spell my name.

MIGNON: Oh, wonderful. Great. Well, again, I'm in Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. You can find a transcript of this podcast, Quick and Dirty Tips dot com. That's all. Thanks for listening.