The Survey of English Usage
Quarterly Newsletter
September 2011

This newsletter is part of a series of quarterly newsletters from the Survey of English Usage, intended to keep the academic community and other interested parties informed about research in the Survey. The newsletter will be sent out in March, June, September and December. The March issue is the Survey’s Annual report.

Forthcoming events

Wednesday 26 October 2011, 4pm, Foster Court 114

Bas Aarts and Sean Wallis (Survey of English Usage, UCL) Teaching grammar to the iPhone generation

In this talk we introduce the new App announced below, present the App’s functionality and discuss some of the challenges involved in creating it. The talk will be particularly relevant to people interested in developing course materials as Apps for mobile devices.

Wednesday 23 November 2011, 4.15pm, Foster Court 114

Seth Mehl (UCL) Making sense of English varieties: the syntax and semantics of make in Singapore English, Hong Kong English and British English

This paper analyses the semantics of one high-frequency, polysemous verb, make, across three varieties of English: Singapore English, Hong Kong English, and British English. Data for the corpus-based study is derived from the International Corpus of English. Discussion will revolve around variations in the semantics and usage of make in each variety, and the implications of these variations for overarching theories of World Englishes. In addition, I will suggest a new role for lexical semantics in describing the development of English varieties worldwide, based on innovative and conservative historical trends and on semantic diversity.


Enterprise Award

EPSRCWe’re delighted that the Survey has been awarded a UCL Enterprise Award for a project entitled Marketing the resources of the Survey of English Usage by the BEAMS Knowledge Transfer and Enterprise Board and the Vice-Provost (Enterprise), funded by the EPSRC. The project’s aims are to commercialise the AHRC-funded Web-based platform for English Language Teaching and Learning.

Further details can be found here.

Release of iPhone/iPad Grammar App

The Survey of English Usage (SEU) at UCL and UCL Business PLC (UCLB) launched an innovative iPhone App (the interactive Grammar of English, “iGE”, also available for the Apple iPad) which provides a complete interactive course in English grammar, enabling English language students to develop their knowledge and skills more effectively. The SEU/UCLB App is targeted at students studying the English language at secondary school, high school or university, as well as those who are studying English as a second or foreign language. Indeed, it is aimed at anyone who is interested in clear, plain English.

The SEU/UCLB App distinguishes itself from other English grammar learning materials in several ways:

  • The course materials have been developed by UCL researchers who are established leaders in the area of English grammar and have significant experience in developing English Language Training materials for use in schools, colleges and universities.
  • The exercise materials are taken from the SEU’s spoken and written English language databases (corpora), which means that all the examples are authentic. Importantly, in contrast with student textbooks, which often use fixed (‘hard-wired’) and artificial examples, the examples used in the App are continually changed, providing users with a dynamic and exciting learning environment.

The SEU team developed the App in response to students and teachers who say that many existing learning tools, whether they are paper-based or interactive, often fail to meet their English language learning needs. Teachers and students are given advice about Grammar that is often dated, confusing and, in some cases, highly misleading. This App offers students the opportunity to practise their language skills and study English whenever they want and wherever they are. Further Apps for punctuation and spelling are planned for the near future.

Dr Steven Schooling from UCLB notes that “the market for English Language learning tools is worth hundreds of millions of pounds per annum, with significant growth in overseas markets such as South-East Asia, driven by mobility and employment trends, and we expect the App to be a valuable resource for both students and teachers across the world.” Dr Schooling further adds that “the release of the App demonstrates UCLB’s commitment to knowledge transfer in UCL departments such as English, and will provide a bridgehead for further developments across the Arts and Humanities.”

Users can test their grammar on the train. Exercises like this ‘spot the noun’ test can be played against the clock (upper right).

Click here for more information. We are currently working on an Android version.

Bas Aarts and Sean Wallis will present a talk at the Survey of English Usage on the App on Wednesday 26 October. Details above.

Bas Aarts

September 2011

This page last modified 1 February, 2018 by Survey Web Administrator.