Twitter Records How Language Evolves

tweet An article published by the BBC tracks the spreading of slang words and phrases through social media. While one abbreviation frequently used in social media originated in southern California and spread to Atlanta and then across the east and west coasts, an emoticon began in New York and Florida, traveled to both coasts, and then slowly reached Arizona and Texas. A current (as-of-yet unpublished) study takes messages from Twitter’s public feed for 2 years to track where terms originate and how they spread between “Metropolitan Statistical Areas” (MSA’s). The study also considers the characteristics, including ethnic groups and cultures within those MSA’s. Twitter, as well as other social media, offers the opportunity to view real-time language adoption and mutation across the U.S. and the world.

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