Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Word nerds: Kickstart @SchwaFire, a new trove for wordsmiths

If you work with words and like reading about them, it's time to get in on the ground floor Kickstarter campaign of Schwa Fire, a digital publication that's all about language. It's the brainchild of writer Michael Erard, author of two great books about language: Um. . .: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean and Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners. I'll let him explain, from his Kickstarter page:
Schwa Fire is a digital publication that will marry language geekery with long-form journalism.  I’ve been saying that Schwa Fire is going to be like This American Life, but for language. We'll pull out the language aspect of the human story, and pull out the human part of language. Stories will be relevant to the times and accountable to the facts, and you won't have to become a linguist to understand them. We don't profess; we inquire. We'll commission pieces from people who know both story-telling and language because they've been involved in both for years. This expertise will allow them to dive into the language-related implications of a story while keeping readers asking "What happened next?" 
Perks for backers include such things as serving as an editorial adviser, so it's a great opportunity for all the wordsmiths among my clients and readers. Erard has added some stretch goals for the publication, including translation of some of the stories into other languages, so the goal is now 130 percent of the original.

I've quoted and interviewed Erard for The Eloquent Woman, my blog on women and public speaking, and for the cover story I wrote in this issue of Toastmaster magazine on technology's impact on public speaking. He's a smart, creative thinker about language who has written for the New York Times, Science, Wired, New Scientist and Slate, among others. Let's help him build this new lens on language with help from fellow wordsmiths, shall we?

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