Corpus-based Dialectometry: Aggregate Morphosyntactic Variability In British English Dialects<sup>*</sup>

Benedikt Szmrecsanyi

in Computing and Language Variation

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780748640300
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671380 | DOI:
Corpus-based Dialectometry: Aggregate Morphosyntactic Variability In British English Dialects*

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This chapter summarises the results of a study which departs from most previous work in dialectometry in several ways. Empirically, it draws on frequency vectors derived from naturalistic corpus data and not on discrete atlas classifications. Linguistically, it is concerned with morphosyntactic (as opposed to lexical or pronunciational) variability. Methodologically, it combines the careful analysis of dialect phenomena in authentic, naturalistic texts to aggregational-dialectometrical techniques. Two research questions guide the investigation: First, on methodological grounds, is corpus-based dialectometry viable at all? Second, to what extent is morphosyntactic variation in non-standard British dialects patterned geographically? By way of validation, findings are matched against previous work on the dialect geography of Great Britain. The study draws on the Freiburg English Dialect Corpus, a naturalistic speech corpus sampling interview material from 162 different locations in 38 different counties all over the British Isles, excluding Ireland.

Keywords: dialectometry; Great Britain; dialects; geography; morphosyntactic variation; Freiburg English Dialect Corpus; frequency vectors; naturalistic corpus data

Chapter.  5412 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning

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