The Followers And Taboo Language Essay

The Followers And Taboo Language Essay

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Followers and Taboo Language
The 500 tweets from those accounts with the most followers, and those with the least followers, were collected, and put into Wordsmith to generate two separate word frequency lists, one of words used by Twitter users with the most followers, and one of words used by Twitter users with a very low number of followers. These word lists were then pared down to show only the taboo lexical items searched for in the original sample (derived from Thelwall 2008), allowing for a more direct comparison of the taboo lexical items used by those tweeting to a large audience, and those tweeting to a smaller audience. The taboo items were rated according to Thelwall’s (2008) strength categorisation, and then multiplied by their frequency, which was added together and divided by the total frequency so as to gain an average strength of the taboo lexical items used by each sample of tweeters. The results can be seen below in Tables 4-5.
Table 4
Taboo Item Frequency and Strength, Most Followed
Word Freq. Strength Total Strength
FUCK 235 4 940
FUCKING 39 4 156
FUCKED 32 4 128
NIGGA 29 5 145
PISS 26 3 78
FUCKIN 25 4 100
GAY 25 3 75
DICKS 19 3 57
NIGGAS 11 5 55
ASSHOLE 10 3 30
DICK 10 3 30
PUSSY 6 3 18
WHORE 3 3 9
COCK 2 3 6
NIGGAZ 2 5 10
PISSES 2 3 6
JEW 1 5 5
482 1863

Table 5
Taboo Item Frequency and Strength, Least Followed
Word Freq. Strength Total Strength
FUCK 149 4 596
FUCKING 88 4 352
GAY 53 3 159
NIGGA 44 5 220
FUCKED 29 4 116
DICK 27 3 81
FUCKIN 22 4 88
NIGGAS 22 5 110
PUSSY 17 3 51
ASSHOLE 10 3 30
COCK 7 3 21
CUNT 7 5 35
PISS 7 3 21
PRICK 5 3 15
FUCKER 4 4 16
FUCKS 4 4 16
JEW 3 5 15
PAKI 3 5 15
QUEER 3 3 9
WANK 3 3 9
WHORE 3 3 9
NIGGAZ 2 5 1...

... middle of paper ...

... they are not usually found in writing, unless that writing is mimicking speech (Biber et al 2002). The table below shows several tweets containing exclamatory taboo lexical items.
Table 10
Exclamatory Taboo Lexical Items Present in Dataset
No. Tweet Content
1008 @███████ fuck was gonna say b I 'm tired toooo
10182 RT @███████: my 2015 year review:


All three of these tweets are clear examples of exclamatories, each comprise grammatically separate interjections, not connected to the main clauses. In tweet 556 the exclamatory begins the tweet, in tweet 1008 a twitter username prefaces the exclamatory, and in tweet 10182 the exclamatory finishes the tweet. All are reminiscent of spoken utterances, leading further credence to the suggestion that computer mediated communication is somewhat of a melding of the spoken and the written modes.

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