The Survey of English Usage
Quarterly Newsletter
September 2012

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.


interactive Grammar of English (iGE) App

The Android version of iGE will be published shortly.

We are continuing to work with UCL Business and a start-up company called Contentment on a re-launch of the iPhone/iPad App. We are also developing a suite of additional Apps on spelling, punctuation, academic writing and phrasal verbs.

Seminars and presentations

Survey seminars during the Autumn term

On 31 October, Dr Rachele De Felice will give a talk on Corpus Pragmatics: linguistic and practical challenges in Foster Court 233.

Abstract: This talk describes how we can use real-world corpus data and corpus linguistics tools to carry out research in pragmatics. In particular, I discuss the creation of a speech-act annotated business email corpus and its use for research into both the linguistic aspects of speech acts (lexicon, syntax, discourse), and into the development of an automated tool for speech act recognition, which currently achieves an average accuracy of 75%. Among the questions the talk addresses are:

  • what problems do we encounter in trying to manually annotate a corpus for speech acts?
  • what is the relationship between particular phrases and their pragmatic function?
  • can computer programs perform speech act recognition reliably?
  • how do we use speech acts in business communication?

Professor Peter Trudgill will speak on 21 November on East Anglian Dialects and the Spanish Inquisition in Gordon House 106.

Abstract: Present tense verbal paradigms in British Isles dialects of English show a number of different variants, including systems which have -s for all persons — as in I loves, you loves, she loves — and the extraordinarily bizarre Standard English system which has zero marking except for the -s of the third-person singular — exactly what you would not expect. But the dialects of East Anglia — Norfolk and Suffolk, and including the urban dialects of Norwich and Ipswich — have, uniquely in the the British Isles, zero-marking for all persons.

I blame the Spanish Inquisition. If you'd like to know why, please come along and find out.

For more information click here.

Bas Aarts

September 2012

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