Tweetin’ about Manchestah – Nini et al. research graphical representations of accent

Posted on September 21, 2020 by

Andrea Nini has a new paper out, co-authored with George Bailey, Diansheng Guo and Jack Grieve. The paper, titled “The graphical representation of phonetic dialect features of the North of England on social media”, is a contribution to a volume edited by Patrick Honeybone and Warren Maguire on “Dialect Writing and the North of England”, and published by the Edinburgh University Press.

You may think that Twitter is just angry ranting and hashtag wars, but to a dialectologist, it’s data. Andrea and colleagues studied a corpus of geolocated British tweets and looked at geographical patterns of phonetic dialect features of the north. They find that for most of them the spelling equivalents correspond to known patterning of phonetic features. They conclude it’s a way to portray identity for those features that are above level of consciousness.

Contacted for a quote, Dr Nini said “there’s lots of nice maps”.