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Analysing phonetic and morphosyntactic variation and change in British English using app and Twitter data

Lecturer(s)Prof. Adrian Leemann
Contact personJakob Leimgruber
DateThursday, 12th November 2020, 14:15 - 15:45

Analyzing Phonetic and Morphosyntactic Variation and Change in British English Using App and Twitter Data

Prof. Adrian Leemann (University of Bern)

In traditional dialectology, linguists travel to selected localities to collect data from mostly older speakers. With the advent of smartphone and web-apps, surveying people can be done online via so-called crowdsourcing. In this talk I will present how, over the past years, we crowdsourced data from speakers of British English via smartphone apps and Twitter. I will showcase findings on the FOOT / STRUT split, TH-fronting, as well as dative alternation (amongst others). Collecting data in this way comes at a price: substantial noise in the data (literally and metaphorically). To end the talk (and somewhat off-topic), I want to address the issue of linguistic data collection during a pandemic – a very current topic – and discuss how a combination of new methods (e.g. apps and videoconferencing) enables the continuation of high-quality data collection, despite a global emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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