New Pop Linguistics Book 

Coming Soon

Um, like, uh, you know? 


What if these verbal tics weren’t a sign of cultural and linguistic degeneration, but rather, some of the most dynamic and revolutionary tools in our arsenal?


In her first book for a popular audience, Valerie tackles the question of why we get so bothered by new forms of speech and how they represent the future of English rather than its impending demise. Diving deeply into what drives our need for linguistic innovation, she weaves together history, psychology, science, and funny relatable anecdotes to reveal how the way we talk, rather than the content of what we say, shapes our social, professional, and romantic success.


With chapters the delve into topics such as seemingly omnipresent ‘like’ use, the figurative use of 'literally,' the psychological benefits of speech fillers like um and uh and the fascinating history behind the growing popularity of non-binary ‘they,’ the book explores the dark corners every English teacher has taught us to avoid.  It turns out that these popular and pilloried linguistic quirks are more important to who we are than oxford commas, dangling modifiers, or split infinitives.  


We will come to understand that our linguistic choices—from the voice pitch we adopt to how we choose our pronouns—are not at all arbitrary. In fact, each of these features could be looked at as a thread that ties together our history with our present-day circumstances, telling a story about speakers, past and present.  Valerie will help us discover that English is alive and well, thanks, in great part, to its flexibility, diversity, and its quirks.

Valerie’s book will be available from Viking/Penguin books.  Sign up to receive publication date updates.