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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Creating a Parsed and Searchable Diachronic Corpus of Present-Day Spoken English

In linguistics a distinction is traditionally made between diachronic and synchronic approaches to the study of language. The first considers language through time, whereas the latter takes a snapshot look at language viewed from the present. This dichotomy has recently been questioned by some linguists who have argued that the distinction is an artificial one. They claim that languages change all the time, even synchronically. As a result of these new attitudes to language development there is an emerging research impetus in linguistics which concerns itself with recent change. At the core of this research project are two corpora of Modern British English, both founded at the Survey of English Usage (SEU) at University College London: the London-Lund Corpus (LLC), compiled in the 1960s, and the British Component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB), compiled in the 1990s. The aim of the project is to construct a fully parsed and searchable diachronic corpus of spontaneous spoken English, containing carefully selected, directly comparable texts from the LLC and ICE-GB. This corpus will be a unique resource for linguists studying the spoken English of a period spanning 25-30 years. There is currently no comparable resource available, and the corpus will be the first of its kind enabling research into recent change in spoken language.