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"You Have An Accent Even on Twitter"

Twitter birdDespite the seeming limitation of 140 characters to express oneself, it turns out that you reveal regional dialects when tweeting.

This piece from NPR, based on research from Carnegie Mellon University, informs us that, for example, the word "something," tweeted by people throughout the country, has been found to be reduced to "sumthin" in certain regions. The word is distilled even further to "suttin," a phrase used almost exclusively in New York City.

Is social media and its short forms of composing, like tweeting, causing written language to move closer to a reflection of spoken language?

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Steve J Moore's picture

When I heard this piece on NPR it made me think of the tweeters I had known online only at first, but then met face-to-face. For example, April Estep (@MsEstep) and I followed each other through our Summer Institutes (Me in Missouri, her in West Virginia). In this case, had no idea she had an accent (a notion she disavows). When we met at the National Meeting in Florida, I commented on how I hadn't pictured her with an accent. I'd be interested to know what other people see in my own tweets. Twitter, being so public and so broad, means we all gain access to a larger array of perceptions of ourselves. Different accents manifested in speech may only be one part of what we gain access to in a Web 2.0 world.

poh's picture
Posted by Paul Oh
on Mar 15 2011

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