Historical Research on Spoken Language: Corpus Perspectives uses historical sources to discuss continuity and change in spoken language. Based on two corpora compiled using data from sociological and anthropological studies of Victorian London and 1930s Bolton, the author shows how historical spoken corpora can illuminate the nature of spoken language as well as the attitudes, values and behaviour of the specific community represented in a corpus. This book:

  • demonstrates how spoken language can be examined using material collected before the advent of sophisticated recording equipment and large-scale computerised corpora;
  • shows how other written sources such as diaries, letters and existing historical corpora can be used to analyse informal language use as far back as the fifteenth century;
  • provides insight into the longevity and resilience of many spoken language features which are often regarded as vernacular or non-standard;
  • comes with a companion website which gives full access to the Bolton Worktown Corpus.

Historical Research on Spoken Language is key reading for researchers and students working in relevant areas.

chapter |12 pages


In search of spoken language in the past

chapter |28 pages

Windows on society

Pronouns and vague category markers

chapter |33 pages

Evaluation, affect and intensity

chapter |22 pages

Dialect and identity

chapter |9 pages

Sources and resources for historical spoken language research

Beyond the MC and the BWC

chapter |38 pages

Vernacular grammar

Longevity and obsolescence

chapter |20 pages

Vernacular continuity

chapter |13 pages