Clippers 2/4: Martha Austen on Computational Sociolinguistics

What can computational methods do for sociolinguistics?
Martha Austen

This talk provides a brief overview of computational sociolinguistics, an emerging field with the twin goals of improving NLP systems using sociolinguistics and of answering sociolinguistic questions using NLP and other computational methods. I briefly discuss what sociolinguistics can do for NLP, then turn to what NLP/computational methods can do for sociolinguistics, using two examples from my research: (1) using SVMs for word sense disambiguation on Twitter data to compare regional variation in African American versus white US English, and (2) using hierarchical cluster analysis to study individual differences in patterns of social meaning. Finally, I discuss future directions for computational sociolinguistics.