Chapter published in:Exploring Future Paths for Historical Sociolinguistics
Edited by Tanja Säily, Arja Nurmi, Minna Palander-Collin and Anita Auer
[Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics 7] 2017
► pp. 303–325
Revisiting weak ties
Using present-day social media data in variationist studies
This article makes use of big and rich present-day data to revisit the social network model in sociolinguistics. This model predicts that mobile individuals with ties outside a home community and subsequent loose-knit networks tend to promote the diffusion of linguistic innovations. The model has been applied to a range of small ethnographic networks. We use a database of nearly 200,000 informants who send micro-blog messages on Twitter. We operationalize networks using two ratio variables; one of them is a truly weak tie and the other a slightly stronger one. The results show that there is a straightforward increase of innovative behavior in the truly weak tie network, but the data indicate that innovations also spread under conditions of stronger networks, given that the network size is large enough. On the methodological level, our approach opens up new horizons in using big and often freely available data in sociolinguistics, both past and present.
Keywords: social network model, language choice, big and rich data, Nordic Tweet Stream (NTS)
Published online: 19 December 2017
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Cited by 4 other publications
Laitinen, Mikko, Masoud Fatemi & Jonas Lundberg
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