Monday, January 10, 2011

Regional Slang Strong on Twitter

Posted By on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 9:21 AM

chipotle.jpg

Listen up: Let's get tipsy and grab some Chipotle, even though it'll stink afterward.

Make sense? Probably not, but it should. According to a new study, regional dialects are alive and well on Twitter, where you'll find plenty of words that get heavy use in only certain geographic areas.

A new study from Carnegie Mellon University finds that, so far, regional variation is alive and well on Twitter. All yinz in Pittsburgh and all yous in New Jersey can still find plenty of support on the microblogging service.

Jacob Eisenstein, Brendan O'Connor, Noah Smith, and Eric Xing of CMU's Computer Science department used Twitter's official API to grab 15 percent of all tweets during one week in March 2010. They then filtered the dataset to include only tweets that were geotagged and which had fewer than a thousand followers, and they removed any tweet with a URL or those that came from outside the US. The goal: to eliminate bots, celebrities, and PR firms, leaving only real people with local networks of friends.

So what terms were unique or most frequently used in the Lake Erie region?

Stink, Chipotle, and tipsy. Seriously. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. In New York, "cab" was used a ton, which makes sense, and in L.A. "taco" was a top term. Here: Chipotle, tipsy, and stink.

You can read the whole paper here, but be warned, it's full of a lot of math. Better grab a barbacoa before you tackle it.

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