ByGretchen McCulloch

Gretchen McCulloch is The Toast's resident linguist. She has an upcoming book about internet language and writes pop linguistics for various places. She lives in Montreal, but actually on the internet at All Things Linguistic.

  1. If you pay attention to the emoji news, you've probably heard the statement that "emoji will cause the death of English". You've probably sensibly rejected this as doom-mongering hyperbole already. Which it is, so good job you.

  2. Gretchen: So as far as I can tell, the goal of this book is to be something more sophisticated and legit than Ye Olde Tea Shoppe, while still being more accessible than Actual Beowulf.

  3. Our resident linguist's previous work for The Toast can be found here. Let's talk about shipping. No, not the transportation of goods over the water, but that feeling when you want a couple fictional characters to smush their faces against each other and never let go. The word ship itself has an interesting enough grammar, not to mention its variants…

  4. Gretchen McCulloch's previous works of linguistic genius for The Toast can be found here. The Wired style guide changed my life. One particular sentence, in fact. We know from experience that new terms often start as two words, then become hyphenated, and eventually end up as one word. Go there now. Oh. I thought. Oh.


    Wired Style

  5. Gretchen McCulloch's previous linguistics columns for The Toast can be found here. They are all perfect. Sarcasm. It's an Essential Part of a Healthy Breakfast™, but it's also "dangerous", especially in writing. What if ~no one~ gets that u are being sarcastic. this is literally the most srs bsns question ever. Right, okay, that's probably enough of the sarcasm voice. The point is, we can speak sarcastically by rolling our eyes or using a…

  6. Gretchen McCulloch's previous work for The Toast can be found here. Sometimes people tell me, as a linguist, that they're surprised I swear so much. They think linguists must have a mystic access to the higher realms of the language and that we oughtn't to sully ourselves with anything as profane as swearing. But what makes swearing so profane is social factors, not linguistic ones, because linguistically, swear words are fucking fascinating. In fact,…

  7. If you’ve ever seen people complain about singular “they” or so-called generic “he” (for the record, I am 100% for singular they and 100% against “he” as a default pronoun), or if you’re just really not so keen on gender binaries, you may have wondered what life and language would be like without gender pronouns. If you haven’t, well, you’re about to find out anyway. So put your linguist slippers on and

  8. Gretchen McCulloch last explained exactly how the Benedict Cumberbatch name generator works and why dogespeak is so doge.

    You might think that Shakespeare spoke with a British accent. And technically, you wouldn’t be wrong, because since Shakespeare was a full-time Brit, he must, by definition, have had a British accent.

    But a lot of people, including many Shakespeare aficionados, take that to mean that a modern-day British accent (usually Received Pronunciation aka

  9. From the woman who explained how the Benedict Cumberbatch name generator works, here is more than you ever dreamed of knowing about the grammatical mechanics of doge. You'll have to click to learn more, but it involves stuff like:

    "A minimal doge utterance contains at least two but often three 2-word doge phrases, followed by a single-word doge phrase (most commonly wow). Additional phrases and variants can be added, especially for the sake

  10. The Toast's [Nicole's] ongoing Benedict Cumberbatch coverage can be found here.

    Bandicoot Cabbagepatch, Bandersnatch Cumberbund, and even Wimbledon Tennismatch: there seem to be endless variations on the name of Benedict Cumberbatch. In fact, even street signs have gotten into the action:

    (image via)

    But how is a normal internet citizen supposed to know, when they hear someone say “I just can’t stop looking at gifs of Bombadil Rivendell”