31 July 2015

Mapping the United Swears of America

Kevin Lossner, who writes Translation Tribulations, posted a link on Facebook today to a fascinating piece from Strong Language — a sweary blog about swearing — on Mapping the United Swears of America.
The following quotes are provided to help you decide if you want to read more:
Jack Grieve, lecturer in forensic linguistics at Aston University in Birmingham, UK, has created a detailed set of maps of the US showing strong regional patterns of swearing preferences. The maps are based on an 8.9-billion-word corpus of geo-coded tweets collected by Spatial Data Mining and Visual Analytics Lab in 2013–14 and funded by Digging into Data.
As Grieve put it, ‘pretty much everyone’s swearing. We just don’t all prefer the same words’.
For more on the method of spatial analysis used to create the maps, see for example Grieve’s ‘A regional analysis of contraction rate in written Standard American English’ (PDF), or ‘A statistical method for the identification and aggregation of regional linguistic variation’ (PDF).
The power offered by Spatial Data Mining and Visual Analytics Lab is awesome.

I look forward to something similar on Australian slang and swearing.

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