#go awn: Sociophonetic Variation in Variant Spellings on Twitter

  • Rachael Tatman The University of Washington
Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Phonetics, Social media, Twitter


While there is a long history of investigating sociophonetic variation in speech, it has been less studied in computer mediated communication contexts such as Twitter. The most obvious reason for this is that interactions in Twitter are text-based and therefore do not include acoustic information. Twitter users are, however, encoding sociophonetic information through their use of variant spellings, such as “awn” for “on”. This study provides evidence that Twitter users in multiple dialect regions are using variant spellings to encode sociophonetic variation in a systematic way and that these variant spelling are sensitive to style shifting. The methodology used here may be us ed in future studies to determine the salience of sociophonetic variables.

Author Biography

Rachael Tatman, The University of Washington
Doctoral candidate and National Science Foundation Fellow at the University of Washington.