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Computing and Language VariationInternational Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing Volume 2$
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John Nerbonne and Charlotte Gooskens

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640300

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640300.001.0001

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Corpus-based Dialectometry: Aggregate Morphosyntactic Variability In British English Dialects*

Corpus-based Dialectometry: Aggregate Morphosyntactic Variability In British English Dialects*

(p.279) Corpus-based Dialectometry: Aggregate Morphosyntactic Variability In British English Dialects*
Computing and Language Variation

Benedikt Szmrecsanyi

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter summarises the results of a study which departs from most previous work in dialectometry in several ways. Empirically, it draws on frequency vectors derived from naturalistic corpus data and not on discrete atlas classifications. Linguistically, it is concerned with morphosyntactic (as opposed to lexical or pronunciational) variability. Methodologically, it combines the careful analysis of dialect phenomena in authentic, naturalistic texts to aggregational-dialectometrical techniques. Two research questions guide the investigation: First, on methodological grounds, is corpus-based dialectometry viable at all? Second, to what extent is morphosyntactic variation in non-standard British dialects patterned geographically? By way of validation, findings are matched against previous work on the dialect geography of Great Britain. The study draws on the Freiburg English Dialect Corpus, a naturalistic speech corpus sampling interview material from 162 different locations in 38 different counties all over the British Isles, excluding Ireland.

Keywords:   dialectometry, Great Britain, dialects, geography, morphosyntactic variation, Freiburg English Dialect Corpus, frequency vectors, naturalistic corpus data

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