Month: December 2014

My new short story published in Redwing!

Big news! I’m very proud and excited to announce that my short story, A Hand of Palaver, has just come out in the new anthology Redwing by Grace&Victory Publications! It’s a story of four travelers who play a game of cards in the woods one night, and then Things Happen. I’m really happy with how it came together, so if you want to check it out, the ebook is available for sale at these fine places: 

– Kindle: this Amazon link

– Kobo: here you go

If you read it, let me know what you think! 


So, Tarantallegra is a direct reference to Harry Potter and the ‘dancing feet’? The word always struck me as weird, but I never happened to look it up before.

The etymology of the word is apparently tarantula and allegra, and it was purportedly used to cure spider bites by making someone dance until they sweated out the poison. The song is about letting music control you, so, unless the word appears somewhere else in history and isn’t as made up as it claims to be, this is just the most outspoken possible reference to HP in popular culture that I have seen so far XD

I will never stop loving this dance, btw. It’s an all-time fav. One of my three wishes would be to be able to break out moves like this anytime, anywhere.

Nice to meet you—


/dances out of the room

To my knowledge, the original word was “Tarantella” – a dance that originated in Sicily, I believe, and was fast and crazy and indeed rumored to make you sweat out the tarantula poison! Adding “allegra” to the end of that was an innovation of Rowling’s (making it one of the few Harry Potter spells not based on Latin!), but it’s entirely possible the beautifully nerdy Xia Junsu was making reference to all of the above.


This is a masterlist of names whose meanings have to do with space. Please let me know if I’ve forgotten your favorite space-related name!

Can be used for character whose parents believe strongly in the Zodiac, or whose parents love astrology, or just characters whose parents liked the sound of the name.

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Science Penguin [x]

i enjoy that every single human’s reaction to penguin is unrestrained delight

And penguins lack large terrestrial predators, so their reaction to humans tends to be, “HELLO STRANGE GIANT PENGUINS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DO YOU HAVE ANY FISH?”





How can we find out what babies know about language before they can tell us themselves? What methods can we use? This week, we look at some of the experimental techniques linguists use to get into those infant heads, and we also discuss some of the discoveries we’ve made about what’s going on in there.

We’re looking forward to hearing what you have to say about baby minds. ^_^

High Amplitude Sucking Procedure – really?

That is not the sort of thing I think I could actually make up. Here’s an article from the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology using the procedure, for example.

Quick reblog for the day crew! And if you want to read some more about infant neurolinguistic research, we’ve got some on the episode page back on our website. ^_^

New episode of The Ling Space! And… yes. High Amplitude Sucking.

Project for Awesome: Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity


I don’t think anyone around linguistics is surprised by the deep desire to keep linguistic diversity in the world, and we’ve had a bunch of discussion the past few days about this, and how best to talk about it. Like, here’s a piece from John McWhorter about what to tell people about why we need…

The Project for Awesome is a wonderful time when the idea of trying to make the world suck less takes over YouTube! We picked linguistic diversity as our contribution, so check out our video on December 12-13 and learn more about why keeping languages alive and thriving matters! There will be tons of other videos on great topics, too, so I recommend you take the time and look around. There will be a lot to discover, and a lot of ways to help! 

Project for Awesome: Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity




Claricia’s Medieval Selfie

Claricia was a German illuminator who included a self-portrait in a South German psalter produced circa 1200 CE.

In the self-portrait, she depicts herself swinging from the tail of a letter Q with her name inscribed over her head. Her uncovered head, braided hair, and style of dress (close-fitting tunic, long-waisted dress, long flowing sleeves) suggests that she was a lay student at the convent.

I love this.

Me, too! Thanks for sharing this, Kat!!



Where did English come from? How has it changed and evolved over time to become the powerhouse language it is today? This week, we talk about the history of English: what it looked like when it was more Germanic, how it became more French in Middle English, and the changes that happened to make it the Modern English we speak today.

This is our first historical linguistics video, so we’re excited to hear what you have to say! ^_^

History of English episode! I took an Old English class at university, and it is literally the best class I’ve ever taken. I’m a big historical linguistics fan, so I’m pumped about this one! English has such a wild history.