The Survey of English Usage carries out research in English Linguistics and was the first centre in Europe to carry out research using text corpora. The Survey is based in the Department of English Language and Literature at UCL. More...

In his new book, Wordsmiths and Warriors: the English Language Tourist’s Guide to Britain, co-written with Hilary Crystal, David Crystal devotes the final chapter to the Survey of English Usage.

In Memoriam Geoffrey Leech

16 January 1936 – 19 August 2014

It is with immense sadness that we heard about the death of Geoffrey Leech, a much-loved friend and colleague.

Geoff studied for his BA, MA and PhD in the English Department at UCL, and was an Assistant Lecturer and Lecturer here from 1962-1969. He was closely involved with the Survey during the first decade of its existence. In 1969 he moved to Lancaster where he remained ever since. After his early retirement in 1996 he continued his research with undiminished vigour, travelling across the world to deliver seminars and lectures.

Geoff became well-known as one of the authors of the Grammar of Contemporary English (1972) and the Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985), together with Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum and Jan Svartvik. He always stayed in touch with the Survey, and we are very proud to have recently published a book with him as co-editor.

Geoff was one of the world’s finest grammarians of English and a pioneering authority in the field of corpus linguistics. We will very much miss him as a friend and as an intellectual role model.

Geoff was due to be awarded an Honorary Degree from UCL on 29 August 2014. We are very sad that this event will now not be taking place.

For a link to an excerpt from Geoff’s autobiography, please visit his page on the Survey website.


English Spelling & Punctuation

App for iOS - Android coming soon

Our latest app, English Spelling & Punctuation (ESP), is out now on Apple devices. ESP is a complementary app to AWE (below), offering targeted help in English spelling and punctuation standards for students and academic writers. ESP contains a complete course and reference for the core punctuation symbols used in English writing and two separate sections, Spelling Rules and Spelling Practice, to help you improve your spelling.

UCL English Apps

Our website is 'mobile-friendly'. Hand-held users have the option of a new 'mobile reader mode' alongside the standard desktop view.

Summer School
Summer School in English Corpus Linguistics

The Survey of English Usage's second summer school in English Corpus Linguistics ran from Monday 7 July to 9 July 2014. Over 25 participants, many engaged in their PhD research, enjoyed 3 days of lectures, presentations and practical sessions.

Click here for the latest information and final timetable.

English Grammar Day 2014

The Survey of English Usage is happy to support the English Grammar Day 2014 event which took place on Friday 4 July 2014, in association with Oxford University and the British Library.

For more information see the British Library website.

Academic guidance in your pocket!

App for iOS and Android

We are proud to announce the release of Academic Writing in English (AWE), a new app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices. AWE is an interactive self-learning course in academic writing that takes you on a journey from critical thinking skills and organising your writing, via questions of English word choice and grammar, to identifying (and addressing) ambiguity in your own writing.

AWE is for undergraduates, postgraduates, professional academics and secondary school students preparing for university – in short, anyone who does academic writing. It is for native and non-native speakers of English.

Survey seminar series

Two seminars took place in the Spring term. On Monday 27 January, Prof JM DeWaele presented an overview of the research on swearing by multilingual speakers, and discuss the difficulty that foreign language speakers have in swearing "appropriately". On 3 March, Prof Anne Furlong discussed how relevance theory, developed as a framework for understanding communication, can be applied to the analysis of theatrical performances.

Survey seminars are open to all members of staff and students, and are generously supported by the English Department.

For more information click here.

ahrc Grammar for Primary Schools Follow-On Project

The Survey was recently awarded Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement by the AHRC to develop teaching and learning materials for English primary schools. The new content is specifically aimed at pupils at Key Stages 1 and 2 in three domains, namely spelling, punctuation and grammar, and will form part of the Englicious website which the Survey developed for secondary school students under a KT Fellowship. This short project started on 1 September and will run for six months.

St Aidan's Primary School NATE

The UCL team will work closely with a number of partners, namely the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE), St Aidan's VC Primary School in north London, and UCL Business PLC (UCL’s Technology Transfer company).

More information

Verb Phrase book published

The grammar of English is often thought to be stable over time. However a new book, edited by Bas Aarts, Joanne Close, Geoffrey Leech and Sean Wallis, The Verb Phrase in English: investigating recent language change with corpora (Cambridge University Press, 2013) presents a body of research from linguists that shows that using natural language corpora one can find changes within a core element of grammar, the Verb Phrase, over a span of decades rather than centuries.

The book draws from papers first presented at a symposium on the verb phrase organised for the Survey’s 50th anniversary and on research from the Changing English Verb Phrase project.

For more information, table of contents and sample articles see here.

Grammar at your fingertips:

App for iOS and Android

We are proud to announce the release of the iGE App for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices. The interactive Grammar of English is a complete course in Modern English Grammar. iGE updates our popular Internet Grammar, and presents it as a mobile application for a phone or tablet.

Click here for more information. The latest iGE 1.1 release is published for Android and the latest Apple devices.

Grammar Teaching KT Project
Teaching English Grammar in Schools

The AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellowship Creating a Web-Based Platform for English Language Teaching and Learning started in 2010. This project involves building a website of interactive structured English language courses with a grammatical focus, tailored to the goals of the National Curriculum’s Key Stages 3-5. The course consists of lesson modules dynamically accessing the corpora based at the Survey.

Details of the project, which is carried out with the London Borough of Camden as a partner, are available here.

Click for sales info
Parsed Corpora of English

Two major parsed corpora of British English are available to order from the Survey of English Usage.

The Diachronic Corpus of Present-Day Spoken English (DCPSE) consists of 87,000 trees and 800,000 words of spoken English across the decades. Release 2 of the British Component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB) is an upgrade of the popular 1 million-word ICE-GB corpus. Both corpora are released with the new ICECUP 3.1 software.

More information, free sample downloads and order forms are here.

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This page last modified 29 August, 2014 by Survey Web Administrator.