How character limit affects language usage in tweets | Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

We investigated the effect of the character limit change ( CLC ) on the linguistic process usage in tweets. The results indicate that the CLC has, in fact, affected the lyric use in tweets. The first hypothesis was supported ; the pre-CLC tweets comprise relatively more textisms, such as shortenings, contractions, unconventional spellings, symbols and numerals. The second guess was partially supported. As expected, the grammatical structure was affected by the CLC : post-CLC sentences are longer and comprise more articles, conjunctives, and prepositions than pre-CLC sentences. however, adjectives and adverbs did not increase in proportional frequency. To discuss the results and implications, this section is structured as follows : first, we discuss an crucial penetration about the results, that is, a switch in the formality of linguistic process usage. After this, each of the investigate POS components are discussed individually. We conclude with possible interpretations of the results with gaze to user demeanor and limitations of our study .

Formality of language

The CLC seems to have brought about a qualitative change in language use in tweets. Pre-CLC tweets contain relatively more informal terminology ( i.e., textisms, self-referential pronoun, and interjection words ), whereas post-CLC tweets show relatively more conventional lyric use. This change in formality is specifically apparent in the relative frequencies of the personal pronoun ik ( I ) and the article give voice de ( the ), which decreased and increased, respectively. former n-gram research has shown that the frequencies for ik and de are indicators of cozy and formal language custom ( Bouma, 2015 ). Particularly, ik is used identical frequently in self-referential and immanent texts such as personal social-media messages. On the other hand, de is used relatively more frequently in neutral and objective texts such as news articles and books. The results suggest that the CLC has led to a general variety in the formality of language use on Twitter .

POS structure

Articles indicate whether a noun refers to a specific entity or to an unspecified entity or class of entities ( for example, ‘ the house ’ vs., ‘ a sign of the zodiac ’ ). This information is not always essential, therefore, articles can be excluded to save outer space or reduce the number of words, a strategy that characterizes both telegraphese and textese, ( Carrington, 2004 ; Oosterhof and Rawoens, 2017 ). Articles occurred relatively more frequently after the CLC. With sufficient quad, obviously, users prefer to include articles. Conjunctions are used to link words, phrases, or clauses. The increase in conjunctions after the CLC may have multiple causes. first, the relaxation of the previous restraining character limit means conjunctions are no retentive ‘ wasting ’ fictional character distance, conjunctions do not necessarily have to be excluded anymore. second, more available space besides means there is more room for summations and dependent clauses, therefore, increasing the want for conjunctions. Another explanation for the increase in conjunctions is the pre-CLC usage of concerted symbols alternatively of words ( for example, ‘ / ’, ‘ + ’, ‘ & ’ as compared to ‘ or’, ‘ and ’ ).

Prepositions indicate ‘ where ’ or ‘ when ‘ an object or an individual is in relation to something else. Prepositions can describe the spatial agreement of entities ( for example, ‘ The tree is in front of the house. ’ ). however, they are besides routinely extended to depict the relations between abstraction ideas, such as intentions and contrasts ( for example, ‘ I wear overly casual clothing to work despite the criticism from my coworkers. ’ ). As opposed to articles and conjunctions, most prepositions can not be excluded without changing the convey mean ( for example, ‘ The three is [] the house’). unusually, the CLC increased preposition use, which suggests that the prepositional information was being withheld anterior to the CLC, in order to save character space. This restraint results in a truncate version of the primitively intended prison term. Example ( I ) :

Pre-CLC : ‘ It was a cheery beach day. ’

Post-CLC : ‘ It was a cheery day on the beach, despite some rain in the dawn ’ .

In line, some prepositions are omissible without changing the bring mean ( Rohdenburg, 2002 ). Example ( II ) :

‘ They had difficulty [ in ] getting there in fourth dimension. ’

Both exercise ( I ) and ( II ) show how the relative frequency of prepositions may have increased post-CLC. however, merely exemplar ( I ) suggests that information was being withheld. interestingly, the bigram analysis showed that the CLC particularly increased the usage of preposition and article combinations ( for example, by the, from the, to a), which appear to add non-omissible prepositional information. This discover supports the notion that information was being withheld and some sentences were obligatory truncate pre-CLC, much like example ( I ). As opposed to prepositions, there was no increase use of adjectives and adverbs. In fact, the relative usage of adjectives and adverb decreased reasonably post-CLC. Adjectives and adverb modify nouns and verbs and report features of entities, actions, and events. For example : ‘These shoes are too ( i.e., adverb ) small ( i.e., adjective ). ’ This featural information is, possibly, besides crucial to be excluded from a message. When a user has to decrease word use to remain with the character limit, it appears prepositional data is considered as expendable, whereas information related by adjectives and adverb is regarded as essential. Consider the follow example :

  1. 1.

    ‘ It was so courteous to see my old friends and teachers from high school at the reunion. ’ ( i.e., the original message ) .

  2. 2 .
    ‘ Great reunion : decent to see my previous high-school friends/teachers again. ’ ( excluding prepositions, articles, and conjunctions ) .
  3. 3 .
    ‘ My friends and teachers from high gear school were at the reunion. ’ ( excluding adjectives and adverb ) .

exemplar 2 is clearly a more faithful rendition of the original message than exemplar 3. Adjectives and adverbs are chiefly used to describe feelings and/or opinions, which better represents the southern cross of a message than prepositional information. This could explain why adjective and adverb usage did not increase after the CLC. Interjections show the largest decrease in relative frequency, see Fig. 8. The term ‘ ejaculation ’ is a descendant from the Latin words ‘ bury ’ and ‘ jacĕre ’ ( i.e., ‘ to throw ’ ). An interjection is ‘ throw ’ between sentences and represents a sudden expression of feelings ( for example, ‘ Oh my ! ’, ‘ Wow ! ’, ‘ Haha ’ ). light replies chiefly comprise interjections, and importantly, these interjections require identical small character space. This means that the previous restrict of 140 characters was already sufficient for the use of interjections. Any extra character space would therefore not be probably to affect interjection usage. This explains the proportional decrease in interjection frequency compared to the other POS categories. furthermore, the relatively low frequency of interjections besides explains the higher baseline error discrepancy as compared to the other categories. In decision, the character limit change has affected language consumption in tweets in our sample distribution. Tweets contained more articles, conjunctions, and prepositions, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as relatively more formal language and relatively less informal lyric ( i.e., textisms and interjections ) after the specify variety. Before the CLC, a group of users were being constrained in the conveyance of their message ; post-CLC, these users obtained the character space they need. As our results show, doubling the character limit reduced the observe hindrance by a factor of ten. consequently, the 280 characters limit appears to be much more sufficient than 140 characters to convey messages on Twitter. The newly terminus ad quem might appear to be a gold criterion for Twitter. however, it is conceivable that, as users become more familiar with the new limit, the number of characters will increase over time. As suggested by the Baseline-split II psychoanalysis, the lyric custom evolves as subsequent swerve of the CLC. Future research could show whether the character and linguistic process usage remains consistent or not.

Future research may besides address whether the effects of the CLC in Dutch tweets are discernible in other languages as well. That is, a decrease in the usage of textisms and an addition in the custom of articles, conjunctions, and prepositions. The underlying rationale being that the CLC effects are likely to be related to the function of these words and the character of information they convey, preferably than the linguistic process itself. That being said, the character efficiency of the lyric could potentially moderate the CLC effects. Particularly, a terminology that is more character-efficient would be less constrained by a duration specify as compared to a less character-efficient lyric. An inevitable limitation of the stream plan is the confounding effect of natural events on the public lyric custom. The use of certain words can be event related. To assuage the electric potential shock of these confounds we removed tokens and bigrams that showed higher service line division as compared to the CLC-effect. however, to in full eliminate issues related to natural events, one may devise an experimental study to investigate the effect of a CLC on language use. A CLC-dependent effect on linguistic process use could be tested while controlling for any natural confounds ( i, subject and event-related effects ), that are bound to occur in experimental studies. however, an experimental setting would reduce the ecological cogency of the discipline. therefore, the stream study would be complementary to an experimental study. Text-limit constraints in Tweets involve speech usage, as we found in the stream sketch. The relaxation of the quality restrict constraint means that writers are less likely to adapt their intended message by using strategies to compress it. Without constraints there is less need for economy of expression. The double of the character restrict in Twitter has well decreased the indigence to compress messages. With the new limit of 280 characters, more users finally have the character space to express their thoughts. Our findings show that on-line speech production can be affected by the fictional character limit constraints of the medium. If necessary, speech producers adapt their textbook to overcome these constraints Footnote 8 .

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