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Twitter Dialects Appearing

02/24/2011

In a world where communication is distilled to 140 characters it’s hard to believe regional distinctions can be found but that’s exactly what researchers have found.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University examined 380,000 tweets from one week and found the tweets to reflect a regional flavor. Of course the brainiacs focused on tweets from everywhere but fly over country. Linguistics experts often make a split between the Upper Midwest and the Northern cities just south of the Great Lakes. So they learned that Southerners used “y’all” and Pittsburghians “yinz” for the second-person plural.

In Minnesota where I live speaking in shorthand is the norm Twitter’s brevity is not a big deal.

Howard Mohr, author of “How to Talk Minnesotan” points out “The three basics – “you bet”, “whatever” and “that’s different” – will allow you to have a conversation without actually committing yourself to a solid opinion.”

So here’s a sample of Minnesotan-talk tweets:

The wife took me to that movie with that gal that thinks she’s  swan. It was different.

Made New Year’s resolution to try new things. Used cream of chicken soup in hamburger hotdish instead of cream of mushroom.

Some Minnesota acronyms include:

YB – “you betcha”

YFS – “yah, fer sure”

DK – “doncha know”

Today is the kind of day where all I want to do is…”GIF UN” short for “Going ice-fishing up north”.

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