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Dušan Nikolić

Twitter Linguistics

Serbian version below

Have you ever thought about finding resources on the Internet? Yes, of course, everyone does it. But have you ever considered searching for resources on Twitter? Not really, and neither have I until I stumbled upon something quite relevant for my own research (for example), which is exactly why I would like to share this short text with you. The text is naturally about Linguistics, or more precisely, how Twitter can be used to help linguists with their research.

First, Twitter can be used to compile a corpus for a research project. For example, Dr. Dennis Storoshenko conducted a study exploring a person-neutral ownself in two varieties of Asian English. He used Twitter data to investigate the use of this additional -self anaphor in English spoken in Asia, as this form was not found in other English-speaking parts of the world. The author found that “ownself is a part of the -self paradigm, but has not taken over any single function: its purpose seems to either be emphatic or possibly sociolinguistic” (Storoshenko 2017, p. 33).  In the same manner, Dr. Taylor Jones carried out a study using Twitter to explore the mapping of African-American Vernacular English dialect regions. The author explains that the recent research indicates “it is possible, in some cases, to use writers’ orthographic choices as indications of intended pronunciations and that geographic data extracted from social media can be reliably applied to dialect geography” (Jones 2017, p. 403). The findings of the study have shown that “orthographic representation of AAVE on Twitter varies geographically and that the variation is not random” (ibid., p. 404). 

The findings of the study have shown that orthographic representation of AAVE on Twitter varies geographically and that the variation is not random.

Second, Twitter can be used to get hold of a variety of academic (research) information. Quite recently I discovered an amazing website that I, personally, was very happy to see – Corpus Phonetics Tutorial by Dr. Eleanor Chodroff. The website goes through different software for not only producing and annotating speech corpora, but also for extracting its phonetic details. Further, by following Dr. Chodroff, Twitter ‘persuaded’ me to check out Dr. Timo Roettger’s Twitter account. Dr. Roettger does incredible work on statistics in Linguistics, and on his Twitter profile I read an article that delineates a “Bayesian model of rational predictive cue integration for listeners’ mapping intonation onto speaker intentions” (source). Twitter can be a very neat and handy locus to gather information as there are also official Twitter accounts of various linguistic organizations such as the LinguistList Twitter account, which posts lists of recent conference calls, published papers, reviews, etc.

Lastly, you may use Twitter to read some of the most prominent linguists in the field. The most recent debate I read on Twitter was between Dr. David Adger and Dr. Ben Ambridge. The former argues for the abstract representation of language structure in the brain, while the latter is an ardent advocate of the usage-based paradigm. This is an on-going debate in Linguistics, and it is incredibly rewarding to see authors such as Adger (whose book on Syntax many Linguistics departments use) revealing (in real time) his stance on the exemplar view of language acquisition. Our own faculty member, Dr. Darin Flynn is very active on Twitter, too. Dr. Flynn shares lots of interesting projects on indigenous languages preservation, and talks about sociolinguistic aspects of profanity and taboo language. Moreover, he sometimes chats with rap musicians to acknowledge their music and to receive the first-hand input on a style of rhyming for his Rap Linguistics course. In fact, Dr. Flynn pointed out to me a recently-published book by Dr. Gretchen McCulloch: Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, which is, according to the author’s words “a linguistically informed look at how our digital world is transforming the English language” (source). I haven’t read the book, but based on the comments from both linguists and non-linguists, I am inclined to believe it’s a masterpiece. 

Dr. Flynn on Twitter
Dr. Darin Flynn

All in all, Twitter is an excellent source of information. So do not miss out on certain events (such as ICPhS 2019), and personalize your Twitter space. By following (only) people and organizations that are involved in Linguistics research you can most certainly end up with your own personalized Twitter Linguistics account!

Dušan Nikolić

Tviter za lingviste

Da li ste ikada tražili izvore na Internetu? Naravno, svako to radi. Ali da li ste ikada pomislili da pretražite izvore na Tviteru? Pa ne baš, a nisam ni ja dok nisam naišao na nešto veoma važno za moje istraživanje (na primer), što me je i podstaklo da podelim ovaj kratki tekst s vama. Tekst je, sasvim logično o lingvistici, ili preciznije, o tome kako se Tviter može koristiti da pomogne lingvistima pri istraživanju.

Najpre, Tviter se može koristiti u sastavljanju korpusa za istraživačke projekte. Na primer, Dr. Denis Storošenko je sproveo istraživanje o upotrebi zamenice (ownself) samog sebe u dva varijeteta engleskog koji se priča u Aziji. Koristio je podatke sa Tvitera da bi istražio upotrebu povratne zamenice (ownself) samog sebe u govornom engleskom koji se koristi u Aziji, jer takav tip zamenice se ne može naći u drugim delovima sveta gde se govori engleski. Autor je zaključio da je “samog sebe deo povratne zamenice sebe, ali [da zamenica] nije preuzela nijednu funkciju: čini se da je uloga ove zamenice u naglašavanju ili je možda sociolingvističke prirode” (Storošenko 2017, str. 33). Poput prof. Storošenka, Dr Tejlor Džouns je, koristivši Tviter, sproveo istraživanje u kom je ispitao kako se mogu izraditi mape regiona dijalekata afroameričkog govornog žargona (AAGŽ). Autor navodi „da je moguće, u nekim slučajevima, koristiti pisane varijante onog koji piše da se pokažu nameravani izgovori i da se geografski podaci sa društvenih mreža mogu s pouzdanjem primeniti na dijalekatsku geografiju”  (Džouns 2017, str. 403). Rezultati istraživanja pokazuju da se „ortografski primer AAGŽ-a na Tviteru geografski razlikuje i da varijacija nije nasumična“ (ibid. str. 404).

Rezultati istraživanja pokazuju da se ortografski primer AAGŽ-a na Tviteru geografski razlikuje i da varijacija nije nasumična.

Zatim, Tviter se može koristiti da bi se došlo do niza akademskih (istraživačkih) informacija. Nedavno sam saznao za neverovatan veb-sajt i bio sam veoma uzbuđen zbog tog otkrića – tutorijal korpusne fonetike Dr Elenor Čodrof. Veb-sajt navodi različite softvere koji se koriste ne samo u pravljenju i označavanju govornih korpusa, već i za izvlačenje fonetskih detalja. Dalje, prateći Dr Čodrof, Tviter me je ‘naveo’ da posetim nalog Dr Tima Retgera. Dr Retger radi odličan posao na statističkoj analizi u lingvistici te sam na njegovom Tviter profilu pročitao članak koji se bavi „Bajesovim modelom racionalne integracije predvidivih oznaka za povezivanje intonacije slušalaca sa namerama govornika“ (izvor). Tviter takodje može biti veoma zgodno mesto za skupljanje informacija jer postoji mnogo Tviter naloga različitih organizacija poput “LinguistList” Tviter naloga koji objavljuje liste najnovijih poziva za konferencije, objavljenih radova, recenzija, itd.

Naposletku, Tviter možete koristiti da čitate neke od najprominentnijih lingvista današnjice. Jedna od poslednjih rasprava koju sam pročitao na Tviteru se odvila izmedju Dr Dejvida Edžera i Dr Bena Ambridža. Prvi se zalaže za apstraktne jezičke strukture u mozgu, dok je potonji zagovornik ideje o usvajanju jezika nakon upotrebe istog. Ova rasprava je jako česta u Lingvistici, i neprocenjivo je čuti autore poput Edžera (čiju knjigu iz sintakse mnogi departmani za Lingvistiku koriste) kako otkriva (u realnom vremenu) svoj stav o teoriji egzemplara u usvajanju jezika. Jedan od naših članova kolektiva, Dr Derin Flin je takođe veoma aktivan na Tviteru. Dr Flin često deli brojne interesantne projekte o očuvanju autohtonih jezika i govori o sociolingvističkim aspektima vulgarnosti. Dr Flin se ponekad dopisuje sa rep muzičarima kako bi pohvalio njihovu muziku i kako bi iz prve ruke stekao uvid o stilu rimovanja za svoj kurs Rep Lingvistike. Upravo mi je dr Flin ukazao na knjigu dr Grečen Mekalok koja je nedavno objavljena: Zato što Internet: razumeti nova pravila jezika (ili Zbog Interneta, mada mi je draža prvobitna opcija), koja je, prema rečima autora „lingvističko-informisani osvrt na to kako naš digitalni svet menja engleski jezik“ (izvor). Nisam pročitao knjigu, ali na osnovu komentara lingvista i onih koji se ne bave lingvistikom, mogu da zaključim da se radi o remek delu.

Sve u svemu, Tviter je odličan izvor informacija. Stoga nemojte propustiti određene dogadjaje (poput ICPhS 2019) i personalizujte svoj Tviter prostor. Tako što ćete pratiti (samo) ljude i organizacije koji se bave Lingvistikom možete sasvim sigurno imati personalizovani Tviter nalog za lingviste.

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