Linguistic alignment & spreading phenomena in social media


Philippa Shoemark

We aim to advance our understanding of how linguistic innovations spread through social networks, by investigating the interaction between linguistic alignment and language change. Models of language change are based on the premise that innovations spread because we imitate one another’s linguistic choices; so to better understand the diffusion dynamics we require a more empirically grounded model of who we imitate, under what circumstances, and to what extent we imitate them. Insights gained into the factors which condition linguistic alignment on social media will be used to develop more accurate and realistic models of language change.


Supervisors: Sharon Goldwater & James Kirby