Launching an Online Home for Language Lovers


As a kid,  journalist/writer Michael Erard was interested in language, but says he could only find dense technical books on the topic. His new project, Schwa Fire, is conceived as the digital magazine about language—”meaty but accessible,” he says—he wishes he’d had access to then.

Schwa Fire targets language geeks, the grammar-obsessed, linguists, poets, spelling enthusiasts, journalists, and anyone who’s curious about the power of language. That’s a growing audience, Erard says, and Schwa Fire‘s digital-only format will aim to provide quality long-form journalism and audio stories for anyone who writes, reads, listens or speaks.

“Language journalism,” Erard says, “is at the point where sports journalism was before Sports Illustrated came along.”

If anyone’s qualified to get a project like this off the ground, it’s Michael Erard. He’s been writing about language for more than a decade, and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Slate, Science, Wired, and The Texas Observer. He’s the author of two nonfiction books—Um. . .  Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean; and Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners—about language.

Schwa Fire is estimated to launch in early 2014. You can check out a sample Schwa Fire story, a trailer for the project, and more information on Schwa Fire‘s Kickstarter campaign page.

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