A comparative study of language change in Northern Englishes



This 3-year project investigates language change in five urban dialects of Northern England—Derby, Newcastle, York, Leeds and Manchester. The main goal of the project is to assess evidence for claims in recent literature concerning the extent to which these dialects are becoming increasingly alike or dissimilar over time. Much recent research has suggested that distinctive features of Northern English dialects are being displaced by competing Southern forms, or lost as a consequence of contact among neighbouring Northern dialects. In addition, this study will examine how individuals’ attitudes toward language use in the context of local social and economic factors may shape change in these dialects. In addressing these questions, the research team will quantitatively examine language use in corpora of conversational speech from each of these cities, and examine these results alongside data on speakers’ perceptions of language usage. The first four dialects were chosen as varieties for which the research team has access to existing corpora. Manchester was included as a major urban variety for which no carefully sampled corpus of spoken English currently exists. In studying these five varieties, this project will contribute to current research, a large-scale comparative investigation of language change in Northern England.
Date made available2017
PublisherUK Data Service

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