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September 28 , 2010

Analysing 21st Century British English

Conceptual and Methodological Aspects of the 'Voices' Project


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.

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