Another quick look at AAE variation

I’m still gathering and analyzing spoken data for my dissertation, studying regional variation in African American accents. In the meantime, I’ve been analyzing a data set of ~59 million AAE(-like) tweets. Another pattern consistent with anecdotal experience has emerged from this twitter data. The image below is two maps, both using Gi* hot spot detection. I compared use of nothing/nothin against variants with either th-stopping (pronouncing it like “nuttin”) or th-fronting (pronouncing it like “nuffin”). I used all the spellings I could think of: nuttin, nutin, nutn, nuin, nun, versus nuffin, nufin, nuffn, nufn, nuffen, etc. Areas that are redder are areas where a given variant is more likely to be used, blue ares are places where it is less likely to be used.

In the image below, the left is the map for nuffin (more accurately, all the th-fronting variants) and the right is the map for nuttin (all the th-stopping variants).

nuffin_nuttin.jpeg

Briefly, the above shows that in this dataset of AAE tweets, th-stopping is more common in the deep south (almost perfectly picking out the historical slave states), and th-fronting is more common along the east coast, especially the DMV, but following the east coast all the way up destination cities for the Great Migrations. It looks like th-stopping is more popular around NYC and maybe Philadelphia, also consistent with what I hear on the street (a mix of both, but with more th-stopping in NYC).

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©Taylor Jones 2018