Forensic Linguistics Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences In the News

Forensic Linguistics on Kim/Kanye Tweet “Gate”

NY Daily News

Dr. Rob Leonard, director of the Graduate Program in Linguistics: Forensic Linguistics, and his colleague Juliane Ford were approached by the NY Daily News’ Confidenti@l column to analyze some mean tweets that seemed somewhat out of character for Kim Kardashian. After analyzing the patterns of the “contested tweets,” Dr. Leonard believed they could have been written by her husband Kanye West.




Kanye West probably wrote those mean tweets to Chloe Grace Moretz and Bette Midler 

If you thought Kim Kardashian’s outbursts at Bette Midler, Chloe Grace Moretz and Piers Morgan were out of character, we believe there’s a good explanation for that: Kanye West probably wrote them.

Having read years’ worth of Kardashian’s social media posts we felt something was off with her vitriolic responses to criticism of her recent naked selfie.

And apparently we weren’t alone.

On Tuesday, after the barrage was over, Kardashian tweeted, “Wait I can’t believe people thought Kanye or Khloe hacked my Twitter. I swear I’m funny too!!!”

So Confidenti@l’s crack investigative unit asked esteemed forensic linguist Professor Rob Leonard — who gives expert testimony about language and writing in murder trials — if we were onto something. The short answer was: Yes.

The professor from Hofstra University and his associate Juliane Ford looked at a bunch of West’s tweets and a bunch of his wife’s tweets and then tried to figure out if the potshots (the “contested tweets” as the experts call them) seemed more in line with something Kardashian or Kanye would write.

Or, as Leonard put it: “We took a look at a body of tweets of Kim’s and of Kanye’s and the contested tweets and we found (the contested tweets) certain features that suggest a link to the speech patterns that Kanye uses in his tweets as opposed to the patterns that Kim uses.”

Or as Confidenti@l believes: Kanye wrote ’em.

Adding the disclaimer that “this is a preliminary analysis; we don’t usually do this in an hour,” the professor said that four things — West’s use of the word “s—,” the distinct way they each use the word “hey,” the way they use hashtags, and the way they write “Twitter” — seemed put West’s fingerprints on the offending tweets.

The first suspicious sign, according to the experts, was that “Kardashian” tweeted to Morgan that he was “on some ashley madison type s—.”


“Kim doesn’t appear to use ‘s—‘ in any of her tweets, whereas Kanye does, and in the same way, essentially (to mean) ‘stuff’ or ‘things,'” said Leonard, giving an example of West tweeting on February 14: “all I do is make s— dope.”

Next up, all of the tweets Kardashian supposedly wrote to Midler et al began, “hey @BetteMidler” or “hey @piersmorgan.” But the experts found that while that’s a common West phrase — for example, “hey Larry Page” — Kardashian doesn’t write that word before individuals’ names. She only uses it in front of groups, like “Hey France!” or Hey guys.”

On to the next exhibit, all of the hashtags in the outburst were in lower-case letters, like “#dejavu” and “forreasearch.”

“Kim’s are always either #ALLCAPS or #CapitalizeEveryWordNoMatterWhatItIs,” he said in an email to us, “whereas Kanye is either #ALLCAPS, or #nocaps or #Onlythefirstwordcapped.”

Finally, in the nasty tweets, the word “Twitter” was always spelled with a lower-case “t.” They found that Kardashian always spells it with an upper-case “T,” but West always writes it was a tell-tale lower-case, except once, when he wrote the word in all caps.

The one tweet that fit Kardashian’s patterns? The one where she claimed Kanye hadn’t written them.

A rep for Kardashian said: “Kanye did not write them. Kim wrote them.”

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