English in Progress is a newsletter that compiles and summarizes new writings and new discoveries concerning the English language.
Linguistics, sociolinguistics, etymology, phonology, lexicography, pragmatics, world Englishes, language technology and more, from the Anglosphere and beyond.
Aimed at English-language professionals, but written in plain English, so you don’t actually have to know what those previous words mean to enjoy it. (But if you do, it will still be interesting for you, promise!)
How often and when does the newsletter get sent out?
Every two weeks on Wednesday morning, UK time.
Who are you, and why did you start this newsletter?
I’m Heddwen, half Dutch half British. I’m a translator from Dutch into English, and a teacher. I also have a degree in, you’d never have guessed, English.
While doing research for my never-quite-really-getting-off-the-ground website English and the Dutch I noticed that the Anglosphere is lacking something which the “Dutchosphere” has: a newsletter that collects news about its language. (The Dutch one is called “Taalpost”.)
First I thought this was probably because English is so very vast, and gathering all that news would be an impossible task. But when I looked into it, I decided that actually it should be doable for one person to make a newsletter once every two weeks. So I decided to give it a go, and here we are.
Who is your target audience?
English-language professionals. English teachers, translators, journalists, copy-writers etc.
But everyone is welcome, of course!
Why is it called “English in Progress”?
Because, after very much deliberation, that is the name I came up with that 1) wasn’t already taken, 2) didn’t sound too much like a language school and 3) didn’t sound like a political statement about people from England.
I also like the way it outs me immediately and without a doubt as a descriptivist.
Still… I would have preferred a good pun.
But there already is a website/ newsletter/ magazine that does what you do
Is there really? I haven’t been able to find it, so I’d love the link, please let me know in the comments below!
There are mistakes in your English, and they are making me angry, grrr!
I do my best, but writing this newsletter is not my main job, so I’m often working against the clock. Also, it’s just me, I don’t have any fancy editors correcting my work, like what proper publications do.
Plus, though I do consider myself a native speaker, sometimes my Dutch will creep in and infect my English. My punctuation, especially, suffers from bilingualism.
If you see any mistakes, do let me know with the feedback form at the end of the email, and I will pretty promise to try to do better next time.
Will you start charging money if the newsletter is successful?
The biweekly newsletter as it exists now will never cost money. I’m thinking the paid subscribers will get a newsletter every other two weeks (so they’ll end up getting a newsletter every week) that has more in-depth stuff. But I’m not there yet.
Can I recommend something for the newsletter?
Absolutely! I trawl the internet every week to find the most interesting news on English, but I miss things all the time. Please let me know of anything interesting in the comments below, or email me by replying to my newsletter. Thank you!
I’ve written an essay/ paper / academic article. Will you feature it?
Okay, so first off, I as a person am definitely interested, so please send me your work. Perhaps you are a leading figure in the field, or perhaps you are “just” a student. Whichever is the case, I love seeing what authors, English departments and linguists out there are doing.
However, for an article to be interesting to my newsletter audience, it needs to be a few things:
- clearly related to the English language
- easy and interesting to read for non-academics
- easily accessible on the web (i.e. no PDFs)
- trustworthy. If it is not featured on a trustworthy source, then it needs to have its sources listed, and these sources need to be available to the public.
In practice, this means that any academic piece needs to be re-written for a general audience, with its sources clearly listed and available. This re-writing could be a blog post on a university website, or on a personal website. The less reputable the host website, the more I will dig into the sources to see if I trust the work enough to feature it in my newsletter.
When re-writing for a general audience, try to answer the question: why should a teacher, translator or writer care about this? Often you will find that the answer to this question is not the same as the answer to the question “why should academia care about this”.
I’ve written a book, will you feature it?
There’s not that many books on the English language written for the general public, so yes. I’m happy to be kept informed of new books and will gladly feature them in my newsletter.
Self-published books… Probably not. Please point me to some articles and blog posts you’ve written first, so I can see what I think of them (see the list of requirements above).
Can I place an ad or a sponsored post?
Gosh, I don’t know, I’m not there yet. But I do like being able to pay my rent. Email me and let’s talk.