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Challenges and results of large-scale mapping of contemporary English dialects using online surveys

Synopsis to be available soon

Linguists are just beginning to mine the web (typically via Google) for primary linguistic data (cf. Nakov and Hearst 2005, A Study of Using Search Engine Page Hits as a Proxy for n-gram Frequencies, or Nicholson and Baldwin 2006, Interpretation of Compound Nominalisations using Corpus and Web Statistics). Back in 1997, tired of saving hundreds of handwritten student surveys and having to present students with generalisations about English dialects that ceased being true 75 years ago, I decided to create an engine for collecting linguistic survey data via the web. My hope was to collect up-to-date dialect data and lots of it, in a form that could be directly dumped into a database for statistical analysis and geographic visualisation. Nine years and about eight surveys later, a host of interesting and surprising results have emerged concerning the current form of English varieties around the world. A number of unanticipated challenges have arisen as well. In this talk I present some of the most striking of these findings and problems.


Dr Bert Vaux | talks | www


Date and Time:

2 November 2006 at 5:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Room GR 06-07, English Faculty Building
9 West Road

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Organised by:

Cambridge University Linguistic Society, University of Cambridge
See other talks organised by Cambridge University Linguistic Society, University of Cambridge...



Membership in the Linguistic Society is £6 a year or £5 for students.

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Membership Information:

This is a members-only event

Membership is £6 a year or £5 for students. You can send your subscriptions to the Treasurer (cbl23@cam.ac.uk), or pay at one of the meetings.

Additional Information:

Cambridge University Linguistic Society aims to bring together people with an interest in language. We meet three times a term on average, attracting speakers from a variety of departments and institutions both inside and outside Cambridge. The meetings are held on Thursday afternoons in the Faculty of English, 9 West Road. Tea and biscuits are served from 4.30pm and the paper begins at 5pm. The talks last about an hour with time afterwards for questions from the audience. The Society's officers then take the speaker out for dinner at a nearby restaurant, along with any members of the audience who wish to join us. These dinners are very popular and offer the opportunity to talk to the speaker and other members of the society in an informal atmosphere. Membership is £6 a year (or £5 for students). This money goes towards paying speakers' travel costs and accommodation. You can send your subscriptions to the Treasurer, or pay at one of the meetings.

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