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AusBrown: A new diachronic corpus of Australian English

Abstract

This paper presents a newly-compiled diachronic corpus of Australian English (AusBrown). With four sampling time points (1931, 1961, 1991 and 2006), Aus-Brown is designed to match the current suite of British and American ‘Brown-family’ corpora in both sampling year and design. We provide details of the composition and compilation of AusBrown, and explore the broader context of its ‘Brown-family background’ and of complementary Australian corpora. We also overview research based on the Australian corpora presented, including several AusBrown-based papers.

Open access
Corpora and lexis
Open access
Early Modern Multiloquent Authors (EMMA): Designing a large-scale corpus of individuals’ languages

Abstract

The present article provides a detailed description of the corpus of Early Modern Multiloquent Authors (EMMA), as well as two small case studies that illustrate its benefits. As a large-scale specialized corpus, EMMA tries to strike the right balance between big data and sociolinguistic coverage. It comprises the writings of 50 carefully selected authors across five generations, mostly taken from the 17th-century London society. EMMA enables the study of language as both a social and cognitive phenomenon and allows us to explore the interaction between the individual and aggregate levels.

The first part of the article is a detailed description of EMMA’s first release as well as the sociolinguistic and methodological principles that underlie its design and compilation. We cover the conceptual decisions and practical implementations at various stages of the compilation process: from text-markup, encoding and data preprocessing to metadata enrichment and verification.

In the second part, we present two small case studies to illustrate how rich contextualization can guide the interpretation of quantitative corpus-linguistic findings. The first case study compares the past tense formation of strong verbs in writers without access to higher education to that of writers with an extensive training in Latin. The second case study relates s/th-variation in the language of a single writer, Margaret Cavendish, to major shifts in her personal life.

Open access
From Arkngthand to Wretched Squalor: Fictional place-names in The Elder Scrolls universe

Abstract

In this article we would like to examine an area of onomastics that has not received much scholarly attention. We aim to provide an adequate linguistic analysis of the place-names found in The Elder Scrolls (ES) video game series. For our analysis, we rely chiefly on the methods of linguistic statistics, which have not yet gained widespread use in onomastic research. Our goal is to give a boost to linguistic and onomastic research into video games and to develop related aspects of its research methodology. Two main methods of place-name formation can be observed in our results: one is when the fictional names are coined on the basis of the lexical elements of already existing non-fictional languages (we call these mimetic names), and the other is when the game developers create so-called speaking names. In our article we demonstrate that the toponyms of the ES universe in part conform to the conventions of non-fictional place-name formation (e.g. they can be sorted into the two main categories of habitative names and topographical names), and in part they contradict such conventions, because around 14 percent of the names we analyzed are purposefully coined as semantically obscure toponyms, which does not happen in the case of non-fictional names.

Open access
Shakespeare and his contemporaries: Designing a genre classification scheme for Early English Books Online 1560–1640

Abstract

The language of Early Modern texts can potentially reveal a lot about Shakespeare’s language. In this paper I describe the creation of a genre classification scheme for a segment of Early English Books Online – Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP), covering the period 1560–1640. This categorisation permits meaningful comparison of the language of Shakespeare with that of his contemporaries and makes an integral contribution to The Encyclopaedia of Shakespeare’s Language project at Lancaster University. I outline the rationale behind the scheme, describe preliminary automatic genre classification work and present the prototype approach adopted for this categorisation. I also provide specific examples of classification in practice and discuss internal and external factors which influenced genre selection. I finish by suggesting how a range of scholars might benefit from this research.

Open access
Benefits and Barriers of a Social Marketing Campaign Based on the Example of the Child Helpline

Abstract

The Estonian child helpline service launched in 2009 uses a free nationwide 24h Child Helpline phone number. The purpose of the service is to enable everyone to report on children in need, forward the information to specialists and, if necessary, get primary social counselling and crisis counselling for children and other people. The service is provided in accordance with the Estonian Child Protection Act that prescribes that all citizens are required to immediately notify the social services, police or other assistanceproviding authorities about children in need of protection or assistance. This article is based on studies conducted between 2013 and 2015. In the course of the research, data were collected for increasing the effectiveness of the hotline’s communication campaigns. In addition to the general objective of the article, the data collected includes quantitative research mixed with qualitative data that helps to understand the factors that encourage and inhibit the use of the hotline service. The focus is on indicators that illustrate the effectiveness of the diffusion of innovation, and special attention is paid to the results that highlight risk, the existence of mental barriers and trust. Finally, the study analyses the weaknesses of past hotline campaigns and makes some suggestions for future.

Open access