Territorial Tweets: Regional Slang Survives the 140-Character Crunch

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Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

If you hail from northern California and you’re tweeting something “cool,” you’ll probably write “koo.” Angelenos and southern California natives prefer to tweet “coo.”

A new study out of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science finds that regional slang is as common in tweets as regional dialects are in speech.

(See the Most Retweeted Tweets of 2010.)

Previous studies of written language have not found significant regional influence, due to the formality assumed by the written word. Twitter, offering its users only 140 characters of expression at a time, more closely resembles spoken conversation patterns than written ones.

Some of the CMU team’s findings were the written form of common spoken regionalisms. Southerners tweet “y’all” while Pittsburgher’s use “yinz.”

(Read about how Twitter will change the way we live.)

But the social media world has given birth to its own regional slangs. Here’s some commonly tweeted Twitter twang:

  • coo [cool] — LA / Southern California
  • fasho [for sure] — LA / Southern California
  • gna [going to] — Boston
  • iono [I don’t know] — Northern California
  • lames [lame people] — Lake Erie Region
  • lls [laughing like s***] — Washington, D.C.
  • od [very overdone] — Lake Erie Region
  • omw [on my way] — LA / southern California
  • smh [shake my head] — LA / southern California
  • suttin [something] — New York / Boston
  • coo [cool] — LA / southern California
  • wyd [what are you doing] — LA / Southern California

(via Live Science)