1st Edition

Analysing 21st Century British English Conceptual and Methodological Aspects of the 'Voices' Project

Edited By Clive Upton, Bethan Davies Copyright 2013
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Voices project of the British Broadcasting Corporation, a recent high-profile media investigation, gathered contemporary English dialect samples from all over the UK and invited contributions from the public to a dedicated website. This book explores both issues of ideology and representation behind the media project and uses to which the emerging data can be put in the study of language variation and change.

    Two lead-in chapters, written from the complementary perspectives of a broadcast media specialist, Simon Elmes, and an academic linguist, David Crystal, set the project in the BBC’s historical, social, and linguistic contexts. Following these, authorities in a range of specialisms concerned with uses and representations of language varieties address various aspects of the project’s potential, in three broad sections:

    • Linguistic explorations of the representations of language and the debates on language evoked by the data.
    • The linguistic product of the project, including lexical, phonological, and grammatical investigations.
    • Technical aspects of creating maps from the large electronic Voices database.

    An interactive companion website provides the means to access, explore, and make use of raw linguistic data, along with interpretive maps created from it, all accompanied by full explanations.

    Analysing 21st Century British English brings together key research and is essential reading for advanced undergraduate students, postgraduate students and researchers working in the areas of language variation, dialect and sociolinguistics.

    Contributors: David Crystal, Bethan Davies, Susie Dent, Simon Elmes, Holly Gilbert, Jon Herring, John Holliday, Alexandra Jaffe, Tommaso Milani, Rob Penhallurick, Jonnie Robinson, Mooniq Shaikjee, Ann Thompson, Will Turner, Clive Upton, Martijn Wieling.

    1.  Voices: a unique BBC adventure Simon Elmes 2.  Voices: a case study in the evolution of a linguistic climate at the BBC David Crystal 3. Constructions of expertise and authority on a language-themed discussion forum: linguists, linguistics and the public Bethan L. Davies 4. Diverse Voices, Public Broadcasts: sociolinguistic representations in mainstream programming Alexandra Jaffe 5.   Afrikaans is bobaas: Linguistic citizenship on the BBC Voices website Tommaso M. Milani and Mooniq Shaikjee 6.  Language Ideology and Conversationalized Interactivity in Voices Will Turner 7. Mapping the Word: Local Vocabulary and its Themes Susie Dent 8.  Voices in Wales: a new national survey Rob Penhallurick 9.  Voices of the UK: The British Library description of the BBC Voices Recordings collection Jonathan Robinson, Jon Herring, and Holly Gilbert 10. Focus on voices in North-east England Ann Thompson 11. Blurred Boundaries: the dialect word from the BBC Clive Upton 12. Voices dialectometry at the University of Sheffield John Holliday 13.  Voices dialectometry at the University of Groningen Martijn Wieling


    Clive Upton is Emeritus Professor of Modern English Language at the University of Leeds, and was academic consultant to the BBC Voices project.

    Bethan Davies is lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Leeds.


    'From its first chapter, on the background of Voices at the BBC, to its last chapter, on statistical mapping of Voices data, this book consistently shows how we can add state-of-the-art academic analyses to the public success of the BBC Voices project.'

    William Kretzschmar, University of Georgia, Athens, USA

    'Analysing 21st Century British English shows even more than we thought just what a rich mine of information the BBC Voices project is. Here we can find computer mappings of dialect areas based on the mass of regional vocabulary collected, alongside reflections on the project by both BBC journalists and linguists. This is a unique and innovative volume with wide appeal to linguists and media studies specialists alike - but lay readers will find much to entice them, too.'

    Paul Kerswill, University of York, UK