Amy Rechkemmer


Small Town or Metropolis? Analyzing the Relationship between Population Size and Language
Amy Rechkemmer | Steven Wilson | Rada Mihalcea
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

The variance in language used by different cultures has been a topic of study for researchers in linguistics and psychology, but often times, language is compared across multiple countries in order to show a difference in culture. As a geographically large country that is diverse in population in terms of the background and experiences of its citizens, the U.S. also contains cultural differences within its own borders. Using a set of over 2 million posts from distinct Twitter users around the country dating back as far as 2014, we ask the following question: is there a difference in how Americans express themselves online depending on whether they reside in an urban or rural area? We categorize Twitter users as either urban or rural and identify ideas and language that are more commonly expressed in tweets written by one population over the other. We take this further by analyzing how the language from specific cities of the U.S. compares to the language of other cities and by training predictive models to predict whether a user is from an urban or rural area. We publicly release the tweet and user IDs that can be used to reconstruct the dataset for future studies in this direction.