I have begun to study computational Arabic linguistics and I have what probably amounts to a basic linguistics question, but I hope I can find some answers nonetheless.

So I know about Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic and the dialects. When I am on Twitter (most important to me) or Facebook or another social media site where people do not necessarily write traditionally grammatical sentences (generalizing across languages here) what exactly am I seeing? How would that be categorized? Is that dialect, MSA, or something else?

  • 2
    An interesting phenomenon of dialectization is emerging in the realm of social networking media. Here's an article about the phenomenon in the U.S. These results imply that it may not be appropriate to think in terms of spoken dialects when the medium in question isn't speech but rather tweeting or some other form of verbal communication (i.e. there may be some overlap but the mapping from spoken dialects to, say, tweeted dialects may not be one-to-one). Nov 17, 2011 at 18:42
  • @musicallinguist Thanks for the link. I think the research paper mentioned at the bottom of that paper will be a useful read for me in dealing with the issue in general even though it does not deal directly with my situation of Arabic dialects.
    – demongolem
    Nov 17, 2011 at 19:00
  • 2
    This is an interesting question for every language, not just for Arabic.
    – cyco130
    May 6, 2012 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


Due to the 140 character limit, I would say that Twitter-writing is a form of Constrained Writing. The abbreviations and bad grammar are a product of the character limit constraint.

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