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The BE06 Corpus of British English and recent language change

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This paper describes the BE06 Corpus, a one million word reference corpus of general written British English that was designed to be comparable to the Brown family of corpora. After providing a description of the Brown sampling frame, and giving the rationale for building a new corpus, the process of building the BE06 is elaborated upon, with reference to collecting previously published texts from internet sources, defining “British” authors and enabling accessibility of the corpus. Three studies of lexical frequency using BE06 and comparable corpora (LOB, FLOB and BLOB) are then carried out. These involve a comparison of the 20 most frequent lexical items, an examination of pronoun usage, and an investigation of keywords derived from comparing the 1991 FLOB corpus with the BE06. The paper ends with a critical evaluation of the worth of using the same sampling frame for linguistic studies of diachronic variation.
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Keywords: diachronic variation; frequency; keywords; pronouns

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 20, 2009

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