University of Oulu

Coats, Steven (2019) Online language ecology : Twitter in Europe. In: Wigham, Ciara R.; Stemle, Egon W. (eds.) Building Computer-Mediated Communication Corpora for sociolinguistic Analysis, (pp. 73-96), Clermont-Ferrand: Presses universitaires Blaise Pascal.

Online language ecology : Twitter in Europe

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Author: Coats, Steven1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-11-17


Social media platforms are increasingly used, but knowledge of the online linguistic behavior of populations remains limited. In Europe, the extent to which official and local languages, immigrant languages, and English are used online (i.e. the online language ecology) has not yet been documented in depth. In this study, the online language ecology of Europe on the social media platform Twitter is characterized from a geographical perspective and considered in relation to the language situations of European countries.

A large corpus of Twitter messages with geographical metadata was created by accessing the Twitter APIs. After language detection and filtering, linguistic profiles for European countries/territories and language groups were created and quantified by using an entropy measure. Language-use distributions were compared to results from survey data, and a language network was created based on the likelihood of bi- or multilingual users sharing a language. The results show that high rates of English use can be attested for most European countries and that a positive relationship exists between the size of a linguistic community and the signal of that language on Twitter.

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Series: Cahiers du Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Langage
ISSN: 1960-3479
ISSN-L: 1960-3479
ISBN: 978-2-84516-860-2
ISBN Print: 978-2-84516-859-6
Pages: 73 - 96
Host publication: Building computer-mediated communication corpora for sociolinguistic analysis
Host publication editor: Stemle, Egon W.
Wigham, Ciara R.
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
Copyright information: © 2019 Presses universitaires Blaise Pascal.