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Do Your Tweets Have Accents?

There have been a bunch of news stories lately about how regional accents are disappearing. That may very well be true, although you can still hear New York accents coming from a mile away. Yet with people moving from place to place, accents tend to get mashed together and the result is a nation of people with indistinct, could-be-from-anywhere voices. But there’s one place where accents are, according to a Carnegie Mellon study, thriving: Twitter. Wait. How can tweets have accents? What the study claims is that people in certain regions use certain words or abbreviations on Twitter that others don’t. They analyzed 380,000 tweets from 9.500 users and found things like this: Northern Californians use “hella,” and they use “koo” to mean cool. Los Angelenos, on the other hand, allegedly use “coo” for cool, which is news to me, seeing as how a) I live here and b) many of the people I follow on Twitter are here and c) not a single one has ever, to my knowledge, used “coo.” They also say L.A. people use the abbreviation “af,” as in “as f-ck.” Again, I’ve never used that, I’ve never seen anybody use that… who did they get for this study? But maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. After all, I’m not a native Angeleno. Perhaps my tweets reflect my previous homes in the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas. Let’s see… “datz” for that’s, “mayb” for maybe, “CTFU” for cracking the f-ck up… nope. Guess I’ve lost all traces of my accent. Wait, no, I haven’t. They can’t be right. You can’t tell an accent on Twitter. Can you? I’m not ready to buy this one. HT: Philadelphia Inquirer

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  1. canajun says:

    Wull, I Knoww fohr a fuct tha the stoodies aboat as troo as saying thaht a chesterfield and hackey are the sayme thingg, thaht is to saay, nawnsanse.

  2. kskryptonian says:

    yinz must nat be fram da’burgh, gunna go sit an da Kach an watch da Stillrz an drin a bir an’nat

  3. Philly Guy says:

    You’s don’t talk wit a accent on Twittah? Den you’s ain’t from Philly. I type in non-rhotic! Fohgeddaboudit!

  4. Emmy says:

    I’m a Northern California native, and sadly I do use “hella.” I started doing it ironically and now I can’t stop, which is also how I became addicted to Journey btw. I console myself with the fact that it’s an extremely satisfying word both to say and to type, i.e. “my shit is hella fucked.”

    “Koo,” however, is an abomination. How hard is it to type the “l,” people?

  5. pandoras.lunchbox says:

    I think what they’ve really discovered is the “insufferable moron” accent. Every one of those abbreviations made me want to punch a puppy, especially “mayb”.

  6. Tori says:

    Sadly, the same goes for Facebook statuses, too.
    Either that, or my friends are seriously less interested in orthography than I.

  7. Mitzi Y. says:

    I don’t think any of my Twitter friends have ever used “coo” either. Unfortunately, most of the Twitter population is actually NOT nerdgeeks (which my friends are), it’s people who use hastags like #thisiswhyyourstupid that make up most of Twitter.

    Twitter is now just like real life.

  8. John Fisticuffs says:

    Unless these are all based on 10-12 year olds who use twitter and not “adults,” as it were.

    In which case I will take great solace in the fact that I have no idea what these things mean.