Reading: The Anatomy of the Urban Dictionary
indeed merely how good is the Urban Dictionary at capturing newly words, and how does it compare with more conventional approaches to producing on-line dictionaries ? today, we get an answer of sorts thanks to the work of Dong Nguyen at the Alan Turing Institute in London and a few pals, who compare the Urban Dictionary and its content with Wiktionary, another crowdsourced dictionary. “ To the best of our cognition, this is the first taxonomic report of Urban Dictionary at this scale, ” they say. Wiktionary is an concern comparison because it takes a much more dinner dress approach to crowdsourcing. This is a sister site to Wikipedia, run by the like Wikimedia organization. It records only news definitions and employs guidelines about how these should be compiled. It besides guides users as to what constitutes a definition. Moderators edit the message, see vandalism, and aim to generate high-quality results. Unsurprisingly, Wiktionary has besides become an authoritative on-line resource, one that researchers increasingly use for natural-language process and so on. Nguyen and co begin by analyzing the Urban Dictionary message in the broadest terms. They say it records 2,661,625 definitions for 1,620,438 words and phrases. Most words have barely one definition, but a few have upwards of 1,000. The discussion with the highest number of definitions is emo, with 1,204. And the crown definition is this :
- A terribly misconstrued and misused word. In contemporary culture it is utilized as a broad term to describe a multitude of children and teenagers who straighten their hair, have their hair in their face, perhaps dye it black, and wear tight clothing. Unfortunately this is completely inaccurate. Actual “emo” music existed in the late 80’s and was a subgenre of hardcore punk rock, after all, “emo” is a shortening of “Emotional hardcore punk rock.” The people in early emo bands dressed like regular people, everyday guys/girls who just played music that they enjoyed. Sadly, since the formulation and ongoing existence of Hot Topic, the term emo has been incorrectly characterized for a little more than a decade. You have to wonder how the original bands feel about the slandering and mass misunderstanding and misuse of their originality with those of the unoriginal.
By contrast, Wiktionary lists five definitions for emo :
- A particular style of hardcore punk rock 2. An individual or group of people associated with that subculture and musical style. 3. Any form of guitar-driven alternative rock that is particularly or notably emotional 4. An individual or group of people associated with a fashion or stereotype of that style of rock. 5. A young person who is considered to be over-emotional or stereotypically emo.
The word with the following highest number of definitions on Urban Dictionary is love, with 1140. The early words in the top 10 by number of definitions are : god, urban dictionary, chode, Canada ’ sulfur history, sex, school, cunt, and scene. In terms of popularity, upvotes slenderly outnumber downvotes. But, say Nguyen and colorado, “ there is a wide magnetic declination among the definitions, with some having more than ten times more up votes than down votes and some the other way around. ” The team besides compare the lexical coverage of Urban Dictionary and Wiktionary. It turns out that the overlap is surprisingly small—72 percentage of the words on Urban Dictionary are not recorded on Wiktionary. however, the team note that many words on Urban Dictionary are relevant to only a humble subset of users. many are nicknames or proper names such as Dan Taylor, defined as “ A very fantastic man that cooks the best gripe grizzle in the whole wide world. ” These normally have only one meaning.
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indeed to study more common words, the team besides compared entirely those words that have two or more definitions. In that case, the overlap is much larger : just 25 percentage of the definitions appear merely on Urban Dictionary. For case, the word phased appears on both dictionaries as something being done bite by bit—in phases. however, Urban Dictionary besides describes several other meanings, such as “ A son that is used when your asking if person wants to fight ” and “ to be ‘ buzzed. ’ when you arent drunkard, but arent grave. ” In this analysis, many more words appear entirely on Wiktionary, some 69 percentage of them. Nguyen and co say that many of these are encyclopedic entries such as acacetins, dramaturge, and Shakespearean sonnets. That leads the team to a clear decision. “ In general, we can say that the overlap between the two dictionaries is little, ” they say. Urban Dictionary meanings besides include opinions, unlike those on Wiktionary. One definition of beer is this : “ possibly the best matter ever to be invented ever. I MEAN IT. ” To work out what proportion of definitions these make up, the team had crowdworkers buttocks each to determine whether it was an public opinion or a mean and whether they were familiar with it. They found that up to 50 percentage of meanings for proper nouns were opinions and that the workers were unfamiliar with the majority of these uses. They besides found definitions such as chocolate, “ a person who is coughed upon. ” In summation, crowdworkers found that much of the Urban Dictionary content was offensive, but that this cntent tended to get lower votes. “ We besides found that words with more definitions tended to be more familiar to crowdworkers, suggesting that Urban Dictionary content does reflect broader trends in language use to some extent, ” say Nguyen and conscientious objector.
The work provides a alone window into a web site that has come to play an crucial character in popular culture. That should set the scene for other studies. In particular, an matter to interrogate is whether on-line dictionaries not only record linguistic change but actually drive it, as some linguists suggest. possibly something for a future research project. referee : arxiv.org/abs/1712.08647 : “ Emo, Love, and God : Making Sense of Urban Dictionary, a Crowd-Sourced Online Dictionary “