Using Twitter as a language tool

I originally wrote this as a response to this topic from nearly 8 years ago:
but then I realized that maybe this needs to be its own topic…

I don’t personally use Facebook, Twitter or any other so-called “social media” (mostly because I have neither the need nor the desire to share the comings and goings of my personal life with the world), but millions of other people do, so, since most people write on Twitter in much the same way as they speak, I use Twitter Search as a language tool for finding the closest thing to everyday speech.

When I am listening or reading and I come across a phrase or expression that I don’t fully understand, or where I want to better understand how it is used in everyday speech, I search for that phrase on Twitter Search. (This often means using your grammar skills to rephrase the expression in different ways.) If I still have trouble understanding the expression, then I just ask a native.

For intermediate or advanced learners, Twitter Search is a really handy way to find lots of examples, far more than you’ll ever find in any dictionary or grammar book.

Of course you have to keep a couple of things in mind. Not everyone on Twitter is a native speaker of the language and some people are more careful writers than others, so you have to watch out for bad grammar or typos and avoid awkwardly worded sentences posted as some sort of “lesson” by someone who, though well-intentioned, is obviously not a native speaker of the language. For example:

But if you’re experienced enough, the more careful writing is readily apparent.

(edited 18 jan 2019)

1 Like

I’ve become familiar with a lot of non-standard phraseology in the comments sections on YouTube and Instagram. YouTube videos by young people (old teens/young adults) are good for exposure to contemporary informal speech.

I find twitter very useful for finding further content (articles to read through). At the moment I’m having a field day all about the massive amount of snow that fell in Bavaria and the Alps in Germany earlier this month (and I think is still falling?!) Yes twitter is a very useful thing to me to find further reading! :slight_smile: