Saturday, December 17, 2016

One Country Divided by a Common Language


In the evening, when most of the USA is sitting down for dinner, people in the Midwest have their supper instead. This is just one of the many variations in the use and choice of language which is determined by where you live in America.

Linguists at Aston University and the University of Manchester have analysed the top 1,000 words used in Twitter messages. They then used users' location data to see how often these words are used in each county in the continental United States. The results of this analysis provide an interesting insight into the regional variations in language use across the United States.

Quartz has used this analysis to create an interesting mapped visualization of the use of these top 1,000 words throughout the United States. Type a word into the Quartz Great American Word Mapper and you can view a heat-map of its use on Twitter in each county of the USA.


The most popular interactive webpage on the New York Times website in 2013 was How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk. This interactive feature asks a series of questions about your pronunciation and use of certain words.

From the answers you give to the questions the NYT creates your personal dialect map. This heat-map shows you which areas of the USA have a dialect similar to your own. You can also view a heat-map for each of the individual questions.

The NYT interactive also asks you whether you call your evening meal 'dinner' or 'supper'. The NYT map shows very similar results for where these words are used to the Quartz map.
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