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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 01/11/2011

Twitter study finds accents alive and well

By Melissa Bell
Twitter accent
Twitter's logo (Designed by Simon Oxley)

Afraid the globalization of technology has destroyed regional diversity? Never fear, it's alive and well, and researchers have proved it thanks to 380,000 tweets written in March of 2010.

You write, "Coo" in a tweet, you're probably from Southern California. If you opt for "koo," you're probably from up north. "Uu" means you likely hail from New York. "Yu" is from a more rural area.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University will present a study on Tuesday to the Linguistic Society of America meeting in Pittsburgh that shows the regional differences on Twitter. They found they could pinpoint a user's location to within 300 miles by analyzing the vocabulary in the tweets.

Researchers found that Twitter was the ideal research zone, because of users tend to more casual, abbreviated vocabulary. "Written communication often is less reflective of regional influences because writing, even in blogs, tends to be formal, and thus homogenized," the study team said in a statement to Reuters.

Want to regionalize your tweets? Substitute "OD" for "very" to sound like you're from New York, "hella" if you want to hail from California.

"Social media have proved a bonanza to linguists, because it gives us access to people writing and speaking in a very natural way," Siegel said. "We didn't have access to people's social interactions this way before without sneaking up on them with tape recorders."

By Melissa Bell  | January 11, 2011; 11:46 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Typing practice: The Z-type game
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