April 24, 2013
Ever get texts with letters that never seem to stop? “Word lengthening” and “elongating” are used to describe the act of dragging out words with no apparent reason other than spicing up a conversation. This kind of behavior usually happens in situations where there is a desire to add extra nuance because of a limitation, like Twitter’s 140-character limit.
Sali Tagliamonte, a linguist at the University of Toronto, analyzed nearly 4 million words in emails, tweets, and texts, and discovered a few patterns in the way people lengthen their words:
- People are more likely to elongate letters in instant messages and texts, but less frequently in e-mails.
- O, A, and E are the most common letters to drag out.
- Elongations occur most often by two or three letters at a time.
Tagliamonte stated that "women are at the forefront" of employing extra letters in their messages, in line with many other linguistic trends. Kiiiinda cool.
(via The Atlantic)