With the advent of modern technology and tools, the world is exploring new avenues in the field of science. Artificial Intelligence(AI) is a branch of science that is on the rise since the past decade.
Language processing is one of the emerging fields that scientists are constantly working on. This domain of AI, like many others, requires quite a lot of research and insight in order to decode human communication.
With the increasing use of social media, there is a variety of different informal and casual methods in which users communicate on such platforms.
Three scientists from the University of Vermont in Burlington published a research article on 27th May 2020 in a journal named PLoS ONE. This brilliant team of scientists has completed the most comprehensive study of “stretchable” words in social media.
This lengthening of vowels and consonants is called germination; which is a feature of some languages that can change a word and its consequent meaning.
They studied a whopping 100 billion tweets generated in the period of ten years-between September 2008 and December 2016.
The reason for this extensive research was to understand how humans converse and study the linguistic patterns of society.
For instance, yes means affirmative, but ‘yeeeeessss‘ implies excitement. These types of words are not found in a dictionary or formal writing but the greater usage of social media has brought about this necessity to study these patterns.
Two key parameters
Gary and his colleagues have come up with two parameters to measure the characteristics of stretchable words. One is balance, and second, is stretch.
Balance means how much a certain letter(s) is repeated in a word. For example, lol (lolololololol) has a high balance because lol is repeated with equal frequency.
Whereas, in no (noooooooo), the balance is low because one letter is repeated more than other letters.
Likewise, stretch refers to how long a word can be stretched. For example, hahahahaha has a high stretch than damnnnn. Because people tend to stretch the former word more than the latter.
Hence, the team of scientists has developed methods and tools to study the dynamics of stretchable words.
Moreover, there are many mistyping and misspellings that occur in everyday written communication which can be studied using these tools.
In a press release, the researchers said that these new tools will aid in areas of linguistic study, as well as other areas such as, “language processing, augmenting dictionaries, improving search engines, analyzing the construction of sequences, and more”.