Topic and audience effects on distinctively Scottish vocabulary usage in Twitter data

Philippa Shoemark, Sharon Goldwater, James Kirby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Sociolinguistic research suggests that speakers modulate their language style in response to their audience. Similar effects have recently been claimed to occur in the informal written context of Twitter, with users choosing less region-specific and non-standard vocabulary when addressing larger audiences. However, these studies have not carefully controlled for the possible confound of topic: that is, tweets addressed to a broad audience might also tend towards topics that engender a more formal style. In addition, it is not clear to what extent previous results generalize to different samples of users. Using mixed effects models, we show that audience and topic have independent effects on the rate of distinctively Scottish usage in two demographically distinct Twitter user samples. However, not all effects are consistent between the two groups, underscoring the importance of replicating studies on distinct user samples before drawing strong conclusions from social media data.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Workshop on Stylistic Variation
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2017
EventWorkshop on Stylistic Variation 2017 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 8 Sept 20178 Sept 2017


ConferenceWorkshop on Stylistic Variation 2017
Internet address


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