He considers himself a monolingual with benefits.
A native American English speaker, he’s lived in South America and Asia, where he learned to speak Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, but please don’t ask him to say anything in those languages.
He taught English as a foreign language in Taiwan.
He also had a bad experience once in a Russian class.
He has graduate degrees in linguistics and rhetoric from the University of Texas at Austin.
He’s written about language, linguists, and linguistics for Science, Seed, Wired, The Atlantic, The New York Times, New Scientist, and many other publications, and is a contributing writer for The Texas Observer and Design Observer. Much of his previous work is here.
His first book, Um…: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean, is a natural history of things we wish we didn’t say (but do), as well as a look at what happens in our culture when we do (and wish we didn’t). The paperback is recommended.
Michael was awarded the Dobie Paisano fellowship in 2008 to work on Babel No More.
He is also a senior researcher at the FrameWorks Institute.