Abstract: Political identity is often manifested in language variation, but the relationship between the two is still relatively unexplored from a quantitative perspective. This study examines the use of Catalan, a language local to the semi-autonomous region of Catalonia in Spain, on Twitter in discourse related to the 2017 independence referendum. We corroborate prior findings that pro-independence tweets are more likely to include the local language than anti-independence tweets. We also find that Catalan is used more often in referendum-related discourse than in other contexts, contrary to prior findings on language variation. This suggests a strong role for the Catalan language in the expression of Catalonian political identity.
Authors: Ian Stewart, Yuval Pinter, Jacob Eisenstein (Georgia Institute of Technology)