Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Mantweet, Womantweet

Yesterday I came accross this study on daily patterns of life in Twitter messages when reading Michael Rundell's post (You say "lovely", I say "great" - How "Beatlish" can that be). It shows according to gender how frequent a word is used. This study was carried out by the Language, Interaction an Computation Laboratory at the University of Trento, Italy.

The website Tweetolife has got a "lovely", "cute" webpage to experiment a bit with word or phrase queries and learn, for example, how frequently men say "fabulous" and when they use it or how frequently women say "dude" and when they use it as well.

To try this out, go to: Tweetolife and click on "Gender Differences" and submit a word.

You will get a graphic showing how frequent men and women use this word:

If you hover the cursor over the blue bar for men, you will read 24%. Now if you do the same over the pink bar for women, you will get 76% (mmm...blue and pink; how stereotypical that is). If you click on "Detailed Query" you will find when men and women use this word.  Apparently men use it when talking about sports  while women when talking about food!!!.

Queries are based on thousands of tweets from Twitter collected by the university of Edinburgh. This gives an interesting use to Twitter to research about vocabulary or grammar use for example. Would this king of web tools would be useful for teachers? learners? Would this be useful when writing dialogues? or any other type of writing task? Do you think it has got any application in the language classroom or it is just an interesting tool to explore about, say, gender stereotypes in class?

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