Tag: internet

Do You Speak a Language? Check Out These Linguistics Books To Learn More!

Whether you use language to communicate or have formally studied linguistics, you can’t deny that language is interesting. How its both simple and complex, how you learn the rules then break them, how you have to follow said rules but also rely on instinct, and so much more. These books will both teach you about language and linguistics, and you’ll also learn more about the world than you thought some language book could teach you. Go check these out!

Image Via Amazon

1. Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCullogh

A personal favorite, Because Internet is a hilarious, relatable, immensely interesting read. It looks at how the internet has shaped the way we talk, think, and communicate with others within and outside of our generation. Think about it—the way you text is so different from the way you speak or the way you write. And what about the different methods people have started using over the years to convey emotion and tone over a medium that doesn’t naturally convey such things?

Because Internet will teach you all this and more. Linguist Gretchen McCullogh’s entertaining writing style keeps you engaged on the fascinating things she’s talking about, and you won’t be able to put this book down. Seriously, go read Because Internet!

Image Via Amazon

2. The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind’s Greatest Invention by Guy Deutscher

“Language is mankind’s greatest invention—except, of course, that it was never invented.” Guy Deutscher asks that impossible question in The Unfolding of Language—how the heck did language happen? If mankind started with rudimentary utterances, like how cavemen talk in comedy skits, how we did from there to sophisticated and stupidly complicated grammar, a dizzyingly enormous array of vocabulary, and nuance so fine you may as well just bash your head against a wall rather than figure out what something really means.

The Unfolding of Language looks at how language changes, grows, and decays over time, tracing back the roots of language. It’s both entertaining and enthralling, and you’ll be swept up in this book’s frankly genius exploration of the genius behind this “uniquely human faculty.” For anyone who’s ever wondered how whatever Beowulf is written in could possibly be considered English, The Unfolding of Language will teach you more about the intricacies of language than you’ve ever dreamed of.

Image Via Amazon

3. What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be by John McWhorter

This article’s title asked you a question: “do you speak a language?” You probably know of a good handful of language off the top of your head, but can you define what a language even is? What makes something a language? What makes something not a language? What makes something a dialect of another language and not a separate language? What about accents—are those different languages?

If you want the answers to those questions and more, What Language Is explains how the languages across the globe originate, evolve, multiply, and divide. McWhorter will take you on a journey around the world’s languages, from Sri Lanka to Persia, to examine what on earth a language even is. With big ideas and fun facts, What Language Is will entertain and educate you, so go check it out!

Image Via Amazon

4. Language Myths by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill

Language Myths is all about tackling the common myths and misconceptions about language and debunking them. Have you ever heard that the media is ruining English? Or what about people saying that children just can’t speak or write properly anymore? And obviously, is it even a myth that America is ruining the English language? Yes. Yes it is. For all these myths to be explored and overthrown, this witty and entertaining book will do that and more.

Language Myths also tackles some things you didn’t even know were myths before you read this book. For example, they cover the myth that women talk too much, or that some languages are more attractive to the ear than others, or that some languages are easier to learn than others. These myths are full of antiquated thinking and outdated information. Language Myths will teach you many valuable insights and give you some truly fascinating facts. Go read it!

Image Via Amazon

5. In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius by Arika Okrent

Oh boy, this is definitely the book all you geeks have been waiting for. All these other super boring books just talk about real life languages. How quaint. But seriously, Arika Okrent’s awesome book talks about the many invented languages, from ones that everyone knows about like Klingon to more obscure languages like Blissymbolics or Babm. There are actually nearly nine hundred invented languages, if you can believe it. And making up your own language requires lots of hard work, hope, and research.

In the Land of Invented Languages explores all this and more. You’ll read about Esperanto, a language born of one man’s quest for world peace via linguistic solidarity. And you can learn about how humans have tried to create the “perfect” language, because our existing ones are definitely flawed. Or are they? Go read this book to find out!

While the study of linguistics may not be for everyone, the use of language definitely is. So if you want to learn more about this mess we call a communication system, then these books are absolutely for you. From learning about emoticons and keysmashing to the history of how language evolved to Klingon, you’ll be undoubtedly entertained and educated all the way through.

Featured Image Via Book ‘Em

The Charybdis of Literary Meme Culture

Hello internet denizens. Do you Like Homer? Sappho? Memes? Allow me to introduce you to the swirling vortex that is the classics fandom. It may have been two-hundred years since they got any new material, but the community is still going strong. Let’s take a look.

Here, a meme about the greatest intellectual tragedy of all time.


Image via TheAmazingPeggyCarter



But it’s not all about history. Here are some about the Iliad.


Image via Classically Classical Classics Memes


Alright, so it wasn’t a gift, it was a sacrifice to the gods that the Trojans were foolish enough to steal, but I’m not mad about it. Trojan horse memes may be antique, but they’re classic (heh).

How about another Iliad meme, this time thanks to Parks and Rec.


Image via SymposiumAndChill



No opinions on the Iliad? No worries! There are general interest memes as well, about things like the Greek gods.


 Image via Classically Classical Classics Memes


Zeus is a thot. That’s the real takeaway. There’s actually a lot of comedic Zeus hate, which is honestly incredibly valid. Try this one on for size.


Image via PaleoMonarchy


Of course, it didn’t work out very well for Prometheus, but at least he got a burn in before being chained… to a rock… and having his liver… repeatedly eaten. Yikes. He’s definitely going to need more than aloe.



Just one more history meme before I go.


Image via JustHistoryStuff


March fifteenth may have come and gone somehow, but jokes about stabbing Caesar don’t have to be contained to one date, and next year, when you see this last meme, you’ll know it’s come.


Image result for caesar dressing stabbed
Image via Reddit




When I See the Oxford Comma

Look, I get it. This is the modern world. This is the internet. Punctuation and spelling are fluid and evocative. The linguistics of the internet are fast moving and instinctive, and I love that. But let’s talk about Oxford comma.

I know we’re not passionate about actually using punctuation here. Every time I see someone use a period at the end of a text, I feel the kind of primordial fear I thought was reserved for life or death situations. And don’t get me started on the most ominous punctuation choices of all…..


Sure, it’s the serif font of punctuation. It seems old fashioned at best, effected superfluous. Darn, I forgot the oxford comma, but I’m sure it still made sense.


Image via KnowYourMeme


Context is a beautiful thing, of course, but those would be galaxy brain names for some rhinoceri. You can assume, but you can’t be sure. Maybe the rhino tamer is just a huge history nerd. Here are my emus, Jefferson and Adams.

Sure, people who overuse commas are pedants (eh-hem), but sometimes they’re necessary. If the point is to be understood, why make people guess? Not everyone is going to know your rhinoceros naming philosophies.


Image via edudemic


Grammar doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are all these people, including rhinoceroses. If you’re describing something, no Oxford comma. Or, these are my rhinoceri. Here are their names. Let’s try and take ourselves seriously.

Not to be unrelateable, but just like grammar.




Even if you don’t feel the same, though, the Oxford comma isn’t to be dropped. I don’t know the last time I used a period, but these days, we write for clarity. We capitalize words for Emphasis. Drop what doesn’t work, but keep what does. Internet language is streamlined, and I think that’s beautiful. Let’s keep it that way. But don’t eat grandma in the process.

Featured image via ImgFlip


Check Out These Fourth of July Recommendations!


Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just to make sure you’re out there living your absolute best life! This week, we’re taking a break from the usual routine to bring you some summer reading for the 4th of July! Here are some reading recommendations as you relax on a beach, prepare to lounge by the pool, or take in the fireworks!


Image via Amazon


5. Shapes of Native nonfiction edited by Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton


Shapes of Native Nonfiction by Elissa Warburton is a collection of essays that helps us remember America’s first people, the Indigenous Americans, even as we celebrate our own independence from British rule. This collection features a full range of dynamic Indigenous talent designed around the theme of lyric essays. Featuring imaginative and well regarded talent putting on a full range of work, this collection is one to read about America’s heritage and certainly a relaxing read beneath the warm skies.


Image via Amazon


4. Because Internet by Getchen McCulloch


Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch is a good book to get yourself back into the internet swing of things in a relaxing fashion. This book defines the language and slang of the internet for not so savvy internet users, as the internet is making language change faster than perhaps our brains can keep up with. The author helps unpack the evolution of digital language, providing a survey of everything from the appeal of memes to the true meaning of ‘LOL.’


Image via Amazon


3. Revenge of the Punks by Vivien Goldman


Revenge of the Punks by Vivien Goldman is a rock and rolling book about reliving the turbulent days of youth. Goldman was Bob Marley’s first UK publicist but also wrote searing music reviews in the 70s and 80s. She now turns her pen to telling the stories of female music writers and women’s relationship to the music that defined generations. She tells stories of the genre’s rebel women such as Bikini Kill, Nehen Cherry, and activist punks. Goldman’s book explores their lives, capturing the spirit of rebellion to get you pumped for July 4th.


Image via Amazon


2. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino


Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino is a collection of essays revolving around our own self-destruction, fueled by the rise of social media and our increased isolation. You might not think that’s an optimistic, breezy read, but the author tackles the essays with humor and grace, tackling challenging topics with easy to understand context. This may be a little more challenging, but if you’re looking for a way to truly stop your self-reflective sense of self-delusion and self-destruction, this is the read for you.


Image via Amazon


1. A Death in the rainforest by Don Kulick


A Death In the Rainforest by Don Kulick discusses what it means to truly study another culture that is not your own. It tells of Don Kulick, who went to the tiny village of Gapun in New Guinea to document the death of the native language, Tayap. Over thirty years, he documented the slow death of Tayap and the look of vanishing death. The story tells not only of Don’s illuminating look into the native language, but also the white society’s reach into the farthest corner of the Earth, and Kulick’s realization that he had to stop his study of the culture altogether.



Featured Image Via Amazon



The Best Apps for Every Step of NaNoWriMo

So it’s the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, and you only have time to do things like go to school for eight hours, sleep for an inconvenient five or so, and occasionally eat. Writing does take time, but you have more time than you probably think (unless you thought you had twenty-four hours in a day, which is technically accurate but unlikely for a functioning person). While there are some circumstances where you can’t whip out your laptop, there are far fewer cases where it’s unusual to take out your phone. So instead of lamenting your wasted time, use the moments you do have to chip away at that 50k on iPhone or Android… with some (all free!) apps to help you with every step of the process.


1. The research process 



Charlie Kelly from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

Image Via Imgur.com


Evernote, free for iPhone and Android, is perfect for keeping track of all your research and inspirational quotations. Its Web Clipper feature allows you to incorporate your source material directly into your notes, so you don’t crash your computer (again) with your 22 dubiously-useful open tabs.


2. The outline 



Millie Bobby Brown Gif

Gif Via Tumblr.com


Go Writer Lite for iPhone incorporates note-taking into the writing process with the draft board feature, a temporary storage space for text fragments (like that one sentence you just can’t figure out). As a bonus, the app will read your text aloud to you, so you can hear for yourself what sounds the way you imagined it.


Workflowy for Android is perfect for complicated outlines, allowing users to see any heading and its subheadings in isolation to prevent distraction (to the extent that it can). The app also includes searchable hashtags, so you can mark problem areas you want to remember for later—and then actually remember them.


3. The first draft



'Tom and Jerry' Gif

Gif Via Github.com


Writer for iPhone is more powerful than your typical word processor, saving all drafts of your product so that you never lose any material. In addition to your usual built-in spell check, this app also comes with a built in thesaurus to help you find the right (write?) word. On top of that, the app has simple yet varied table of contents formatting to help you and (and your eventual readers!) stay organized.


4. The editing process 



Frantic Typing Gif

Gif Via Gfycat.com


Unlike your typical sticky note phone app, Jotterpad for Android keeps track of your word count, paragraph count, character count, AND reading time. With a built in dictionary and thesaurus, this app is already better than many word processing computer programs. Jotterpad is especially good for your second and third drafts, as its snapshot feature allows you to revert to earlier versions of your story.


With any luck, these apps will help you put your (relatively few) moments of down time to work writing the novel of your dreams (or occasionally your nightmares).


Featured Image Via WeScreeplay