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On Twitter, language use varies by gender

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You don’t need a linguistics degree to know that men and women speak differently. But a new study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests we tweet differently, as well.

Women, for instance, are much more likely to drop lols, emoticons and hesitation markers, like ellipses and “uh.” Men swear more frequently and tweet more numbers, the better to share sports’ scores with their bros.

Men, unsurprisingly, monopolize the word “bro” — along with the related “brotha” and “bruh.”

Many of these conclusions, the authors write, mirror findings from earlier studies on how men and women communicate. But Twitter throws a new variable into the equation — researchers can analyze both the gender of our words and the gender of the people we speak to.

That yields some fascinating conclusions. This study found that men with more men in their Twitter networks tweet more “male” words, and women with more women in their networks do the same. The average network, notably, is 63 percent homogenous.

Does that mean Twitter reinforces our gender biases, or is it the other way around? The study doesn’t speculate on that front.

It does, however, lend some linguistic significance to your next throwaway tweet. ;)

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