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Canadians really are nicer than Americans, at least on Twitter

President Donald Trump (L) listens to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they walk towards the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2017.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Canadians might be known as the United States' friendly neighbor up north, but is there any truth to the stereotype that Canadians as nicer than Americans?

While there is no hard evidence to suggest that Canadians and Americans have different personality traits, new research has found that there might be some truth to that when it comes to the language people use on Twitter.

For the study "National character stereotypes mirror language use: A study of Canadian and American tweets," which was published earlier this month in the journal PLOS One, linguistic experts from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada looked at 40 million tweets from American and Canadian Twitter accounts to see how their language might differ. They isolated the words, emoticons and emojis used most disproportionately on Twitter by people hailing from each country, collecting data from February 2015 to February 2016.

Interestingly enough, the researchers found that the language differences between Americans and Canadians on Twitter mirrors their national stereotypes: Canadians were much more positive and polite on Twitter and used words like "great," "thanks," "good," "amazing" and "happy"; meanwhile, Americans were more prone to use negative words, like "hate," "miss," "mad," "feel," "swear" and "tired." 

"The most distinctive word choices of Americans and Canadians on Twitter paint a very accurate and familiar picture of the stereotypes we associate with people from these nations," Daniel Schmidtke, co-author of the study and a post-doctoral researcher at McMaster, says in a news release.

Canadian tweets also featured emojis of hearts, smiley faces and thumb's up.

And while American tweets also included a number of positive emojis, like smiling faces and heart-eye faces, they also often included crying faces and skulls, according to the study.

Another notable difference in American tweets is the presence of racial slurs and profanity.

Still, "The Twitter behavior we observe doesn't actually reflect the real underlying personality profile of an average American or Canadian," Schmidtke emphasizes. 

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President Donald Trump (L) listens to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they walk towards the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2017.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
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