Survey Seminar Series Autumn 2010

The Survey of English Usage organises a number of seminars each year for staff and students from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and beyond. They are generously sponsored by the English Department.

The following research seminars will take place during the Autumn term in Foster Court Room 220 at 4pm.

Wed 27
  Dr Jill Bowie (UCL)
Recent change in spoken British English: the perfect construction.

This paper presents corpus data on spoken British English which suggests that use of the perfect construction has changed over recent decades. The English perfect construction involves the perfect auxiliary have followed by a verb in the past participle form. The auxiliary occurs in different tense forms, giving several subtypes of the construction, which share an ability to express pastness in relation to a reference point. The subtypes include the present perfect (as in Well you’ve missed the yuppy boat), the past perfect (I’d always wanted to go to Australia), and the infinitival perfect (Everybody seems to have been alerted). The present perfect has received most attention in terms of current use and recent developments. However, the other subtypes also deserve attention in terms of variation and current change. In the Diachronic Corpus of Present-day Spoken English (DCPSE), the past perfect and infinitival perfect show a significant decline in frequency across the earlier and later parts of the corpus (spanning the 1960s to the 1990s). Possible explanations for these changes will be discussed.

Wed 24
Dr Sylvia Shaw (Middlesex University)
Gender, Language and Political Participation in the Devolved Political Institutions of the UK

This ESRC funded research project aims to further an understanding of the factors affecting the political representation of women in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales by examining the linguistic cultural norms and practices in debates, and establishing the extent to which these may be gendered. It has been claimed that these ‘new’ political institutions offer women greater opportunities for equal participation than traditional parliaments (such as the House of Commons) because they have been designed with egalitarian ideals to the fore and because women have been included from the beginning. This paper presents some initial findings from ethnographic descriptions of the linguistics practices in each assembly, from a quantitative study of speaking turns, and from detailed CA analyses of debates.

Past events

This page last modified 14 May, 2020 by Survey Web Administrator.