How and Why the Internet Is Changing Language

Gretchen McCulloch studies how people use language on the internet, and today we talked about her new book, "Because Internet." I bet you'll recognize yourself or your friends in her insights. 

Mignon Fogarty
Episode #707

In this interview with Gretchen McCulloch of the All Things Linguistic blog and the podcast Lingthusiasm, we talked about Gretchen's new book, "Because Internet." These are the major things we talked about:

Why internet language isn't a sign of laziness.

Why people tend to lowercase more words when writing on a digital medium.

Why you probably love words your family makes up but hate words your boss makes up.

Why Mark Twain wasn't sure about the telephone.

Why older people will answer a phone call during dinner but younger people will text.

Why the weak ties of the internet make language change faster than it used to.

Why people edit keysmashes.

Why it's possible to use emoji ungrammatically.

What we can learn from access to the informal language databases online.

How Gretchen created a special meaning for the word "Dijon."

How emoji are like gestures.

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking the player above or by finding the podcast on any podcasting app, but if you prefer to read it, we also have a complete (rough) transcript.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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