Thursday, November 22, 2012

Urban tweetz

As we saw last week, Twitter is proving to be a great way of tracking language change and variation, admittedly with a few limitations about tweeters' real identities and the like. This week, New Scientist reports on research by Jacob Eisenstein and his team at Georgia Institute of Technology which seems to indicate that new word formations and abbreviations of older ones are more likely to spread via Twitter from US urban areas with large African-American populations.

Slang - and some of these formations like CTFU (Cracking The F*** Up) and bruh (brother) probably fit under that umbrella term - has long had deep links with the black community. Julie Coleman's excellent book, The Life of Slang looks at how some forms of slang have been created and kept alive in African-American culture, so it's not a great surprise to find that this ethnic group is still leading the way in lexical innovation where a new technology is concerned.

There's more here too. 


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