A year to remember? Introducing the BE21 corpus and exploring recent part of speech tag change in British English

Paul Baker

CASS, Lancaster University

This talk describes the collection and analysis of the most recent edition of the Brown family, the BE21 corpus, consisting of 1 million words of written British English texts, published in 2021. Using measures of the Coefficient of Variance, the frequencies of part-of-speech tags in BE21 are compared against the other four British members of the Brown family (from 1931, 1961, 1991 and 2006). Part-of-speech tags that are steadily increasing or decreasing in all five or the latest three corpora are examined via concordance lines and their distributions in order to identify new and emerging trends in British English. The analysis points to the continuation of some trends (such as declines in modal verbs and titles of address), along with newer trends like the rise of first person pronouns. The analysis indicates that more general trends of densification, democratisation and colloquialisation are continuing in British English.

Week 1 2022/2023

Thursday 13th October 2022

Welcome Lecture LT1 / Teams link available via email