Word Distributions in Dutch Tweets. A quantitative appraisal of the distinction between function and content words

Hans van Halteren, Nelleke Oostdijk


In this paper, we investigate the distinction between function words and content words in the light of their distribution over domains and/or topics. More specifically, we investigate whether this distinction should be viewed as a dichotomy or rather as a continuum. Observing that function words ought to be generally applicable while content words are domain/topic-dependent, we measure how widely words are being used, by examining their distribution over the 1,000 most frequent hashtags on Twitter. Based on the results of these measurements, we conclude that a continuum ranging from fully grammatical words to fully content- bearing words is the more promising viewpoint.

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© Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde | ISSN (print): 0040-7550 | eISSN (online): 2212-0521