Linguistics Alumna Defends the Listicle

Linguistics Alumna Defends the Listicle


As a contributor for The Week and Mental Floss, Arika Okrent, PhD’04, regularly writes listicles—an article in the form of a list—as part of her job. The listicle has become an increasingly popular literary form both online and in print, and in turn that popularity has created a thriving list of listicle sub-genres: “best of…” or “the worst of…” or “top reasons why…” are just a few examples.

But as a trained linguist, Okrent also sees how listicles function from a language perspective. Some object to listicles as oversimplified and disposable, but Okrent argues listicles mimic the process of language by creating order out of an array of facts.

Read more about Okrent’s take on listicles in the University of Chicago Magazine.


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February 24, 2014