Schwa Fire successfully completed a fundraising campaign on December 10, 2013. Thank you to everyone who pre-subscribed!
The campaign generated a lot of interest in Schwa Fire: Fast Company wrote a profile, BoingBoing did a shout-out, and io9.com even included it in a crowdfunding wrap-up. Ben Zimmer of Language Log and the Wall Street Journal wrote about Schwa Fire, as did linguist and namer Nancy Friedman.
Other language blogs, such as LanguageHat, Glossographia, Superlinguo, and the blog of translation company Altalang have talked about it. The Texas Observer wrote about the project, and Michael Erard wrote a guest blog post for The Language Documentation Crowd blog and another for Interpret America’s blog.
People pre-subscribing come from all corners of the language world: linguists, translators, interpreters, speech-language pathologists, teachers, students, travelers, writers, poets, conlangers, lexicographers, and others.
Schwa Fire is a project of Michael Erard, who has been writing about language and languages for over a decade for publications like The New York Times, Science, Wired, New Scientist, and Slate. He’s written about “uh” and “um”; what it means when bonobos make slips; what the English of the future might look like; the discovery of “new” languages in southern China; what it means when we dream in foreign languages; language superlearners; and many other topics.
For a number of years, folks in the language blog world have talked about starting a popular language magazine. When those conversations started up again late last year, Erard realized he had a vision for what this could be. As a kid, he was interested in language but could find only technical books to read. Schwa Fire is for that kid — and for everyone who knows that language is fascinating and that it matters to everyone.
One supporter said this:
I think Michael Erard is right on the money with his vision for the project. A great many of us who chose to study linguistics did so because we bliss out over the aesthetic possibilities of language, or out of fascination with the ways in which language is so often at the center of human dramas of connection, misunderstanding, heroism, loss, power, or identity.
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