The Ezra Klein Show

Gretchen McCulloch is a self-described “internet linguist,” host of the podcast Lingthusiasm, and author of the recent book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. In it, she demonstrates that the way we've come to speak on the internet -- from emojis to exclamation points -- is not random or arbitrary, but part of a broader attempt to make our written communication more vibrant, meaningful, and, genuinely human. Far from ‘ruining’ the written English language, internet-speak, McCulloch argues, is revolutionizing language in unprecedented, and ultimately positive, ways.

We discuss why I feel bad if I don't use enough exclamation points (or use too many), why postcards are the pre-internet predecessors to Instagram, how emojis act as written equivalents of our body language, why sarcasm is like a “linguistic trust fall,” the meaning of “Ok boomer” and much more.

Book recommendations:

It’s Complicated:The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd 

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like:

danah boyd on why fake news is so easy to believe

You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it

My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app.

Credits:

Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Engineers - Cynthia Gil

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