Site-restricted web searches for data collection in regional dialectology

Jack Grieve, Costanza Asnaghi, Tom Ruette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article presents a new method for data collection in regional dialectology based on site-restricted web searches. The method measures the usage and determines the distribution of lexical variants across a region of interest using common web search engines, such as Google or Bing. The method involves estimating the proportions of the variants of a lexical alternation variable over a series of cities by counting the number of webpages that contain the variants on newspaper websites originating from these cities through site-restricted web searches. The method is evaluated by mapping the 26 variants of 10 lexical variables with known distributions in American English. In almost all cases, the maps based on site-restricted web searches align closely with traditional dialect maps based on data gathered through questionnaires, demonstrating the accuracy of this method for the observation of regional linguistic variation. However, unlike collecting dialect data using traditional methods, which is a relatively slow process, the use of site-restricted web searches allows for dialect data to be collected from across a region as large as the United States in a matter of days.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-440
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Speech
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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dialect
search engine
Search engines
Linguistics
Dialectology
Data Collection
Web Sites
website
newspaper
linguistics
questionnaire

Bibliographical note

© 2013 by American Dialect Society. Published by Duke University Press.
Grieve, J., Asnaghi, C., & Ruette, T. (2013). Site-restricted web searches for data collection in regional dialectology. American speech, 88(4), 413-440. http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/00031283-2691424

Cite this

Grieve, Jack ; Asnaghi, Costanza ; Ruette, Tom. / Site-restricted web searches for data collection in regional dialectology. In: American Speech. 2013 ; Vol. 88, No. 4. pp. 413-440.
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Site-restricted web searches for data collection in regional dialectology. / Grieve, Jack; Asnaghi, Costanza; Ruette, Tom.

In: American Speech, Vol. 88, No. 4, 01.2013, p. 413-440.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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