An introduction

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If you've seen my previous post, SCOTUS cites CGEL (etc.), you may have been surprised to see an unfamiliar name in the byline beneath the title—unfamiliar because you've never heard or me, or because you didn't associate me with Language Log other than as an occasional commenter and a long-time-ago guest poster. Either way, you're probably wondering how I hacked my way into the Language Log server, and whether purloined Language Log emails are going to start being posted on Wikileaks. Or maybe it's fsociety that you're worried about. So let me assure you that no violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act were committed in the making of that post, or of this one.

The explanation for my presence here is that I've accepted an invitation from Mark to be a regular contributor to Language Log. And the purpose of this post is to briefly introduce myself.

But first, I want to thank Mark for the invitation, and for the opportunity to join Language Log. As I told him when I answered his email,  I'm honored and thrilled to to join Language Log. I've been reading LL since damn near the beginning (I wish I could remember how I stumbled across it), and it has been an incredible source of enlightenment and entertainment. Although I'll be dating myself by saying this, it's a gas to be here.

So. IAAL, but IANAL. By which  I mean, I am a lawyer, but I am not a linguist. However, I have been interested in linguistics since the mid-'90s, thanks to Stephen Pinker's book The Language Instinct, and have done a lot of reading in the field. For almost all of that time, I've also been interested in seeing how linguistics could be put to work in doing legal interpretation. Toward that end, I've done a number of friend-of-the-court briefs that have drawn on linguistics in looking at issues of statutory and constitutional interpretation. I also blog about the subject at LAWnLinguistics, where you can find links to the briefs I've done (look for the "Briefs" tab at the top).

Here at Language Log, I'll be blogging about law and linguistics, obviously. I'll probably cross-post some things from LAWnLinguistics, but I'll also be writing things specifically for Language Log. I also hope to branch out into some nonlegal areas. I have ideas bouncing around my head, and it will be interesting to see what makes its way to your screen.

In the meantime, could someone please direct me to the water cooler?



  1. Jerry Friedman said,

    February 22, 2018 @ 6:17 pm

    Heck, have you actually found the plaza?

  2. Jenny Chu said,

    February 22, 2018 @ 7:20 pm

    I'm looking forward to reading more! I have to confess I hadn't thought much about the relationship between law and linguistics, except perhaps in the opening chapter of Steven Pinker's other book, The Stuff of Thought, and in the whole Oxford comma lawsuit in Maine. Having taken a quick glance through your LAWnLinguistics blog, I have suddenly become very curious!

  3. Bartleby said,

    February 22, 2018 @ 9:45 pm

    Welcome. I'm looking forward to reading your posts. I always start my day with Language Log. (Though, I have to admit, for a week or so after the Superbowl, the sports pages came first. I'm from Philadelphia.)

  4. David Seidman said,

    February 22, 2018 @ 10:56 pm

    As a lawyer (retired, but still authorized to practice in D.C.), sometime teacher of English and its grammar (Peace Corps 1964-66, Washington English Center 2017-present), long-time reader of Language Log, and slightly less-long-time reader of LAWnLinguistics, I have only one question: What took you guys so long to get together?

  5. Neal Goldfarb said,

    February 22, 2018 @ 11:29 pm

    I can't speak for Mark, but I think it's important to be friends first.

  6. RachelP said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 12:19 am

    Oo, give us the inside juice. Is it true there's 18 cafés, luxury sleep pods and several swimming pools?

    [NG: Hey, they still haven't told me where the water cooler is.]

  7. RachelP said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 12:20 am

    And does it make you cross when people use 'there is' for plurals?

  8. Chris C. said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 1:51 am

    I hear there's a secret pub, but you need to know the password to give to the painting that conceals the entrance.

  9. Jonathan Silk said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 2:15 am

    Just going to take a stab here, but is it Swordfish?

  10. David Morris said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 6:02 am

    I chanced on LAWnLinguistics, but haven't read it regularly or in depth. I was a publishing editor for one of Australia's legal publishing companies.

    I haven't found UPenn, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or the USA yet.

  11. Robert Coren said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 10:59 am

    @Jonathan Silk: Yes, but Haddock works too.

  12. Christy Goldfinch said,

    February 23, 2018 @ 12:42 pm

    As a legal copyeditor, amateur linguist, and hence a fan of LAWnLinguistics, I'm so thrilled to see you here!

  13. Steve Leckar said,

    March 2, 2018 @ 10:30 pm

    As a longtime colleague and fan of Neal, I am delighted to see him ascend to Language Log.

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