Summer School in English Corpus Linguistics 2019

Our seventh annual three-day Summer School in English Corpus Linguistics ran from Monday 1 July to Wednesday 3 July 2019.

The Summer School is an introduction to Corpus Linguistics for students of language and linguistics and teachers of English. Participants should have a basic knowledge of English linguistics and grammar. Students will gain experience with a state-of-art corpus and an understanding of basic statistical ideas.

This is an intensive three day course designed to give students a deep understanding of Corpus Linguistics. Class sizes are limited, with lecturers who teach together, allowing students the opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues. To give you a flavour of the course, one participant commented:

“All topics are useful and informative. Along with the exploration of the ICE-GB, I had a valuable chance to review English syntax, to overview different corpora and to enhance my understanding in the use of statistics in linguistics in a meaningful way.”


The Summer School will take place in the heart of London, at University College London.

Other relevant information


Aims and objectives

Over the three days, participants learn about the following:

  • the scope of Corpus Linguistics, and how we can use it to study the English Language;
  • key issues in Corpus Linguistics methodology;
  • how to use corpora to analyse issues in syntax and semantics;
  • basic elements of statistics;
  • how to navigate large and small corpora, particularly ICE-GB and DCPSE.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, participants will have:

  • acquired a basic but solid knowledge of the terminology, concepts and methodologies used in English Corpus Linguistics;
  • had practical experience working with two state-of-the-art corpora and a corpus exploration tool (ICECUP);
  • have gained an understanding of the breadth of Corpus Linguistics and the potential application for projects;
  • have learned about the fundamental concepts of inferential statistics and their practical application to Corpus Linguistics.

Further details

This is a three day course. Mornings consist of a ‘theory lecture’ and a ‘practical lecture’. The theory session on the first day is on English grammar, the second is on corpus linguistics methodologies, and the final theory session introduces the basic principles of statistics. The afternoons consist of intensive ‘hands-on’ practical sessions where students are able to make the most of what they have learned.

Students will also be taught about a wide variety of corpora. Most of the practical teaching focuses on two particular corpora, both developed at UCL. These are the British component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB), and the Diachronic Corpus of Present-day Spoken English (DCPSE). These corpora consist of authentic samples of written and spoken English and are unusual in that they are fully parsed, i.e. they contain a complete grammatical tree analysis for every sentence. Students will use the state-of-art software developed for research with grammatical treebanks, ICECUP, to explore these rich resources.

Students will be taught statistics fundamentals from the ground up, from probability theory to distributions, confidence intervals and statistical tests. No prior knowledge of statistics is assumed.

What students say

This highly successful course has run for six years. We had extremely positive feedback from those who attended — as the following sample comments indicate:

“I am amazed by your availability and helpfulness throughout the summer school. 4 tutors for 21 students, that is a support-ratio I have never had in my (university) education before. Maybe I should go to more summer schools.”

“[Deciding what was most useful for me was a] difficult choice because each session offered a link to the next (admirably cohesive) and all were very useful — perhaps I'll opt for what I was least comfortable with, statistics.”

“I learned that it might actually be possible for me to understand statistics. It was also very useful to be told by experts about things that I have accumulated some knowledge about in the last couple of years, but not really been formally taught about. I gained some basic ICECUP skills, which is great because it really seems an amazing tool.”

“The advice on formulating research questions was particularly useful and gave me lots of new things to consider and apply to my own work.”

Special offer — ICE-GB or DCPSE

  • Students in full-time education: free copy of either ICE-GB or DCPSE (Student Licence).
  • All other registrants: 25% off the Individual Licence for either
    • ICE-GB (regular price £365 now £273.75) or
    • DCPSE (regular price £349 now £261.75).
      Note: these prices exclude VAT at 20%, which is payable for EU customers.

Special Offer Conditions: Each student applicant for the course is entitled to one copy of one corpus and a licence in their name. Participants who are not students and wish to purchase our software can pay in advance by following the links on our website, or payment can be accepted by sterling cheque or credit card at the Summer School. For licence terms and general ordering information see the links below.

ICE-GB Licence
DCPSE licence

2019 Timetable

1 July

09:00-09:30 Registration

An Introduction to English Corpus Linguistics

Bas Aarts
11:00-11:30 Break

Introducing ICE-GB and DCPSE and their Functionality

Bas Aarts
13:00-14:15 Lunch

Practical Session

2 July


Searching the Corpus: Wildcards, FTFs and Combining Queries

Bas Aarts and Sean Wallis
11:00-11:30 Break

Corpus Linguistics Methodology

Sean Wallis
13:00-14:15 Lunch

Practical Session

3 July


Simple Statistics for Corpus Linguistics

Sean Wallis
11:00-11:30 Break

Quantity and Quality: Large Corpora and Specialised Corpora

Bas Aarts
13:00-14:15 Lunch

Practical Session


Closing tea!

This page last modified 10 July, 2019 by Survey Web Administrator.