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It’s Koo—Tweets Regional, Y’All

| January 11, 2011
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By way of our colleague Julia, the Associated Press on American dialects that show up on our favorite 140-character messaging service (“Twitter is full of regional ‘accents,’ study finds“):

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University examined 380,000 messages from Twitter during one week in March 2010 and found that the social networking site is full of its own kinds of geographical dialects.

Take the word cool. Southern Californians tend to write the shorthand “coo,” while their neighbors up north use the phonetic shorthand “koo.”

The 4.5 million words the researchers examined were full of similar examples. Some were obvious — like “y’all” in the South or “yinz” in Pittsburgh — and some more mysterious. The word “suttin” was found over and over in New York City, a shorthand for “something.”

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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