Two Canadian linguists and a whole bunch of tweets just proved something many Americans already assumed about their neighbors to the north: They're by and large much nicer. Or as Vox puts it: "It is a generally assumed principle, much like the sun rising in the east or bears hibernating in the winter, that Canadians are an unfailingly polite people." Daniel Schmidtke and Bryor Snefjella at McMaster University analyzed more than 3 million tweets over a 10-month period, isolating the top 10% of words most likely to be used by Canadians versus the top 10% most likely to be used by Americans, according to a university press release. “We could see the difference between the two countries’ tweets as soon as we created a word cloud of the findings,” Schmidtke says.
They found Canadian tweets included the words “great,” “amazing,” and “favorite” far more than American tweets, according to the press release. They also included "hockey" and "eh," lest we leave out any stereotypes. Meanwhile, American tweeters were more likely to use "curse words, off-color slang, and even a racial slur." The words fit to be printed included "hate," "tired," and "hurt." The university says the findings "could impact everything from government policy to how we understand our global neighbors." Schmidtke and Snefjella also looked at England and Scotland, finding that popular English Twitter words are "creeping" further north of the Scottish border. "For the sake of civility, let's hope we can keep that creep away our own border," Metronews.ca states. (The most popular comment on the New York Times website was written by a Canadian.)