#go awn: Sociophonetic Variation in Variant Spellings on Twitter

Title#go awn: Sociophonetic Variation in Variant Spellings on Twitter
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsTatman, R.
JournalWorking Papers of the Linguistics Circle of the University of Victoria
Start Page98
Date Published09/2015
Keywordsmicroblogging, phonetics, social media, sociolinguistics, Twitter

While there is a long history of investigating sociophonetic
variation in speech, it has been less studied in computer mediated
communication contexts such as Twitter. The most obvious reason
for this is that interactions in Twitter are text-based and therefore
do not include acoustic information. Twitter users are, however,
encoding sociophonetic information through their use of variant
spellings, such as “awn” for “on”. This study provides evidence
that Twitter users in multiple dialect regions are using variant
spellings to encode sociophonetic variation in a systematic way
and that these variant spelling are sensitive to style shifting. The
methodology used here may be used in future studies to determine
the salience of sociophonetic variables.
Keywords: sociolinguistics; phonetics; social media; Twitter