Word Frequencies in Written and Spoken English is a landmark volume in the development of vocabulary frequency studies. Whereas previous books have in general given frequency information about the written language only, this book provides information on both speech and writing. It not only gives information about the language as a whole, but also about the differences between spoken and written English, and between different spoken and written varieties of the language. The frequencies are derived from a wide ranging and up-to-date corpus of English: the British National Corpus, which was compiled from over 4,000 written texts and spoken transcriptions representing the present day language in the UK. The book is based on a new version of the corpus (available from 2001) providing more accurate grammatical information, which is essential (for example) for distinguishing words like leaves (noun) and leaves (verb) with different meanings. The book begins with a general introduction, explaining why such information is important and highlighting interesting linguistic findings that emerge from the statistical analysis of the British National Corpus vocabulary. It also contains twenty four 'interest boxes' which highlight and comment on different aspects of frequency - for example, the most common colour words in English in order of frequency, and a comparison of male words (e.g. man) and female words (e.g. woman) in terms of their frequency.
Paul Rayson is a Research Fellow in the Department of Computing, Lancaster University and has extensive experience of statistical corpus analysis and corpus annotation.
Andrew Wilson is a Lecturer in Computer Corpus Linguistics at Lancaster University. He has been involved in corpus research since 1990 and has written several books, including Corpus Linguistics (1996, co-authored with Tony McEnery).
Geoffrey Leechis Research Professor in English Linguistics at Lancaster University. He is the author, co-author or co-editor of more than 20 books (most of them published by Longman) on Linguistics and the English Language.
'For corpus linguists, this book is of paramount importance for analysing and establishing the saliency of lexical items with a comparative corpus, such as journalistic or scientific English.'
Lexicos 15, Afrilex Series 15: 2005