Investigating British and American English : Dictionary research and corpus investigation

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: The aim of this Magister Degree Project has been to investigate if can corpora be used to investigate patterns of lexical distribution and/or borrowing from one variety to another. Another aim has been to investigate how well classification of lexical items as either “British” or “American” supported by evidence from corpora of English. In order to accomplish these aims sets of lexical items have been examined in two ways: first through dictionary research and “dictionary dating”, and second through the use of such English corpora as the British National Corpus (BNC), the United Kingdom Web Archiving Consortium (ukWaC), and the TIME Corpus of American English. The results of this research suggest that the simplistic labelling of certain items as “American” versus “British” is sometimes misleading, and that corpus investigations on their own, though useful, may not be entirely sufficient in this context.

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