Monday, July 17, 2006

Blogger Q&A No. 5: Language Hat

We're talking with Language Hat, proprietor of a highly informative and entertainingly written language blog.

Q. When did you start blogging?

A. July 2002; I'd been commenting on other people's blogs, and enough people (particularly Songdog, the top name on my blogroll) urged me to try it myself that I thought "Why not?"

Q What's your purpose or motivation to blogging? What do you hope to accomplish?

A. I enjoy sharing my thoughts on language and literature with people and getting their responses (I wouldn't enjoy blogging without the comments), and I hope to increase public understanding of the basic facts of linguistics (language changes, different people use language differently, and that's OK) to whatever small degree I can.

Q. Where do you get your topics?

A. From my reading, from other blogs, and from links people send me.

Q.What has provoked the most response from readers?

A. For a long time it was a piece I did in September 2003 called RDIAENG, which began "Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae." That got tons of hits and links. But in mid-April of this year I suddenly got a huge surge of hits; the strange thing is I have no idea
why -- I hadn't posted about anything particularly controversial, and
as far as I can tell I wasn't linked by some high-profile site.

Q. Do you know who your readers are and if so, do you have much interaction with them? Anything interesting to say about them?

A. My readers are an incredibly diverse lot with all sorts of interests. The degree of interaction depends; some I know only through their comments, some I have occasional or regular e-mail contact with, and a few I've actually met and become friends with in person. I don't know if there are any useful generalizations I could make except that they all seem to have an interest in language. When I ask a question to the public at large, someone always seems to be able to answer it for
me. Without the responses from readers, I would have given up blogging long ago.

Q. If you know, are your readers language or journalism experts or just regular folks?

A. Some are journalists, some are linguists, some are just folks. (See above.)

Q. Do you try to post on a regular schedule or as topics arise?

A. I try to make at least one post a day; the only substantial breaks have been for vacations -- and now for the mysterious problems that have made me unable to access the MT control panel! I've been getting e-mails asking me when it'll be fixed, saying "I miss LH"; so do I, and I wish I knew -- my techie pal is working on it!

Q. Do you think we should think about linking in some fashion to deliver language or other advice by e-mail or share content more regularly? (This is completely off the top of my head and did not inspire this Q&A.)

A. Not sure what this means. I have a "Linguablogs" blogroll, and I frequently communicate with fellow language bloggers by e-mail.

Q. Do you consider yourself web savvy or up to date on technology? Will we still be blogging in five years or will technology completely replace this method of communication?

A. Far from it -- I'm a complete ignoramus about technical stuff! I have no crystal ball, but blogging is so satisfying and so popular I expect it to last a good deal longer than five years, even if the technology changes.

Q. How much time do you spend each week on your blog?

A. Depends. Maybe a couple of hours a day on average.

Q. What are your favorite language web sites or blogs?

A. (when Renee is updating it), Language Log, Tenser, said the Tensor, Anggarrgoon, sauvage noble, Jabal al-Lughat,, Double-Tongued Word Wrester.

Q. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A. Just that I hope my site gets back to normal soon!

1 comment:

Ben Zimmer said...

Languagehat's loyal readers hope the site gets back to normal soon too!

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