Colloquium: Earl Brown

Date(s) - 11/08/2018
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

3108 JKB


Associate Professor Earl Brown, Linguistics, will present for the Humanities Center’s weekly colloquium on Thursday, November 8th. The presentation will be held at 3:00 PM in room 4010 JFSB. He will be discussing his corpus analysis of Twitter.

Title: The Door Has Opened Wide: Social Media as Linguistic Data for Language Researchers

The transition from webpages with content only from the creator to webpages with user-generated content has opened the door for linguists and other researchers to collect language data quickly and cheaply from around the world. Social media platforms are particularly useful for the study of variation, as the language produced is often spontaneous and raw, with little editing, if any. As such, linguists can often get a glimpse into the vernacular of the users. This presentation highlights two studies that use social media as a source of linguistic data in order to study: (1) regional variation in the Spanish-speaking world and (2) the use of Spanish and English by heritage speakers of Spanish. In Study 1, messages sent on Twitter in and near the capital cities of the Spanish-speaking countries across the globe were collected and analyzed in order to determine where, if anywhere, a less common syntactic usage of the verb gustar ‘to like/to please’ occurs most often. A follow-up online survey added perception data to the production data collected on Twitter. In Study 2, the Facebook messages sent over a 15-month period by heritage speakers of Spanish raised and living in Kansas were analyzed to compare and contrast the communicative functions of messages written in Spanish and those written in English.

Refreshments will be served.

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