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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Artif. Intell. | doi: 10.3389/frai.2020.00015

Hybrid Hashtags: #YouKnowYoureAKiwiWhen your Tweet contains Māori and English Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

 David G. Trye1,  Andreea S. Calude1*, Felipe Bravo-Marquez2 and Te T. Keegan1
  • 1University of Waikato, New Zealand
  • 2University of Chile, Chile

Twitter constitutes a rich resource for investigating language contact phenomena. In this paper, we report findings from the analysis of a large-scale diachronic corpus of over one million tweets, containing loanwords from the indigenous language spoken in New Zealand, te reo Māori, into (NZ) English. Our analysis focuses on hashtags comprising mixed-language resources (which we term hybrid hashtags), bringing together descriptive linguistic tools (investigating length, word class and semantic domains of the hashtags) and quantitative methods (Random Forests and regression analysis). Our work has implications for language change and the study of loanwords (we argue that hybrid hashtags can be linked to loanword entrenchment), and for the study of language on social media (we challenge proposals of hashtags as “words”, and show that hashtags have a dual discourse role: a micro-function within the immediate linguistic context in which they occur and a macro-function, within the tweet as a whole).

Keywords: Language contact, loanwords, Hashtags, hashtag half-life, New Zealand English, Maori, word embeddings, Language of social media

Received: 19 Dec 2019; Accepted: 13 Mar 2020.

Copyright: © 2020 Trye, Calude, Bravo-Marquez and Keegan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Andreea S. Calude, University of Waikato, Hamilton, 3240, Waikato, New Zealand, andreea.calude@waikato.ac.nz