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Metadata Freiburg Corpus of English Dialects Sampler (FRED-S)

FRED-S (which is publicly available) and FRED (a larger database available for analysis at the University of Freiburg) are monolingual spoken-language dialect corpora. FRED-S contains full-length interviews with native speakers from the Southwest of England, the Southeast of England, the Midlands, the North of England, and the Scottish Lowlands. The texts reflect the 'traditional' varieties of British English spoken in these areas during the second half of the 20th century. The corpus consists of sound recordings and orthographic transcripts. These transcripts have been enriched with part of speech tags. FRED-S is based on 121 interviews with 144 dialect speakers totalling 123 hours of recorded speech. This translates into about one million words of running text.

The data originate from so-called oral history projects where informants were interviewed to record their life memories. All texts are face-to-face conversations between (usually) one interviewer and an informant in a private environment (in most cases the speaker's home). The interviewers were native speakers themselves and, although the interviewees knew they were being recorded, the setting and the interest expressed in their life stories helped to sufficiently distract them from their own linguistic behaviour.

A limited set of sociolinguistic variables is specified for each text (geographic data, and - often - age and sex of the speaker). Most informants are so-called NORMs - non-mobile old rural males - who typically left school at age fourteen or younger. The ratio of running text produced by male speakers to running text produced by female speakers is roughly 74:26 (with 87 male and 52 female informants in total). About three quarters of the overall textual material in FRED-S is produced by male speakers.

The primary aim of compiling the FRED corpus series was the research group's interest in morphosyntactic variation in British English dialects and the lack of geographically well-balanced, easy-to-access, machine-readable databases. Morphosyntactic phenomena subject to analysis have included the following: relativization (Herrmann, 2003, 2005), pronoun usage (Wagner, 2004a,b, 2005, Hernández 2010), verbal agreement (Pietsch, 2005a,b), morphosyntactic persistence (Szmrecsanyi, 2005, 2006), genitive variation (Szmrecsanyi & Hinrichs 2008), complementation (Kolbe 2008), non-standard verbal morphology (Anderwald 2009), and modal verbs (Schulz 2010). Szmrecsanyi (2008) features a dialectometrical analysis of aggregate grammatical variation in FRED.

The FRED corpus series has been compiled by the research group 'English Dialect Syntax from a Typological Perspective', based at the English Department of the University of Freiburg and supervised by Bernd Kortmann. A corpus manual is available at


Anderwald, Lieselotte (2009). The Morphology of English Dialects: Verb-Formation in Non-Standard English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hernández, Nuria (2010). "Personal pronouns in the dialects of England: A corpus-driven study of grammatical variation in spontaneous speech". PhD-thesis, University of Freiburg.

Herrmann, Tanja (2003). "Relative clauses in dialects of English. A typological Approach". PhD-thesis, University of Freiburg (available online at

Herrmann, Tanja (2005). "Relative clauses in English dialects of the British Isles". In: A Comparative Grammar of British English Dialects: Agreement, Gender, Relative Clauses, Kortmann, Bernd, Tanja Herrmann, Lukas Pietsch & Susanne Wagner (eds.). pp. 21-124. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Kolbe, Daniela (2008). "Complement Clauses in British Englishes". PhD-thesis, University of Trier.

Pietsch, Lukas (2005)a. ""Some do and some doesn't": Verbal concord variation in the north of the British Isles". In: A Comparative Grammar of British English Dialects: Agreement, Gender, Relative Clauses, Kortmann, Bernd, Tanja Herrmann, Lukas Pietsch & Susanne Wagner (eds.). pp. 125-210. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Pietsch, Lukas (2005)b. Variable Grammars: Verbal Agreement in Northern Dialects of English. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Schulz, Monika Edith (2010). "Morphosyntactic variation in British English dialects: Evidence from possession, obligation and past habituality". PhD-thesis, University of Freiburg.

Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt (2005). "Language users as creatures of habit: a corpus-linguistic analysis of persistence in spoken English". Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 1(1): 113-149.

Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt (2006). Morphosyntactic Persistence in Spoken English: A Corpus Study at the Intersection of Variationist Sociolinguistics, Psycholinguistics, and Discourse Analysis. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt & Lars Hinrichs (2008). "Probabilistic determinants of genitive variation in spoken and written English: a multivariate comparison across time, space, and genres". In: The Dynamics of Linguistic Variation: Corpus Evidence on English Past and Present, Nevalainen, Terttu, Irma Taavitsainen, Päivi Pahta & Minna Korhonen (eds.). pp 291-309. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt (2008). Corpus-based dialectometry: aggregate morphosyntactic variability in British English dialects. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, 2(1-2): 279-296.

Wagner, Susanne (2004)a. "Gender in English Pronouns". PhD-thesis, University of Freiburg (available online at

Wagner, Susanne (2004)b. "'Gendered' pronouns in English dialects - a typological perspective". In: Dialectology Meets Typology, Kortmann, Bernd (ed.). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Wagner, Susanne (2005). "Gender in English pronouns: Southwest England". In: A Comparative Grammar of British English Dialects: Agreement, Gender, Relative Clauses. Kortmann, Bernd, Tanja Herrmann, Lukas Pietsch & Susanne Wagner (eds.). pp. 211-367. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

(Leicestershire)52.7522 -1.6229
(Nottinghamshire)53.0113 -1.0554
(Somerset)51.1122 -2.7916
Ambleside (Westmorland)54.428376 -2.9623
Barrow (Lancashire)54.117205 -3.225689
Barton_St_David (Somerset)51.082986 -2.6584
Birtley (Durham)55.098471 -2.189851
Blackawton (Devon)50.345809 -3.681402
Brixham (Devon)50.394048 -3.516021
Buckfast (Devon)50.493375 -3.778465
Buckleigh (Somerset)51.219144 -3.575824
Carnelloe (Cornwall)50.245913 -5.277807
Choppington (Northumberland)55.150465 -1.602782
Churchtown (Cornwall)50.366882 -5.055104
Crompton (Lancashire)53.578387 -2.095107
Edinburgh (Midlothian)55.918308 -3.265026
Falkirk (West_Lothian)56.000667 -3.78436
Faversham (Kent)51.315584 0.891003
Fenwick_Steads (Northumberland)55.598584 -1.828955
Filkins (Oxfordshire)51.739654 -1.653171
Galmpton (Devon)50.249484 -3.840457
Glastonbury (Somerset)51.147359 -2.71778
Guisborough (Yorkshire)54.534628 -1.055882
Gurnards_Head (Cornwall)50.18423 -5.593916
Hartlepool (Durham)54.682492 -1.216697
Hebden_Bridge (Yorkshire)53.740718 -2.012274
Hinderwell (Yorkshire)54.538064 -0.773446
Horton (Somerset)50.929032 -2.967148
Lambley (Nottinghamshire)53.000756 -1.061563
Leafield (Oxfordshire)51.835032 -1.543588
Loftus (Yorkshire)54.553697 -0.885059
London_North (London)51.500197 -0.126197
Lydd (Kent)50.952345 0.907289
Middlesbrough (Yorkshire)54.573002 -1.237755
North_Burrowbridge (Somerset)51.057678 -2.893362
North_Petherton (Somerset)51.092504 -3.015713
Nottingham (Nottinghamshire)52.955073 -1.1493
Pendeen (Cornwall)50.150924 -5.667132
Petherton (Somerset)51.147015 -2.504065
Pinner (Middlesex)51.593825 -0.382175
Poplar_London_Port (London)51.508781 -0.010517
Prescott (Lancashire)53.427903 -2.803423
Preston (Lancashire)53.757729 -2.70344
Redcar (Yorkshire)54.603006 -1.077626
Sheerness (Kent)51.440193 0.764063
Sittingbourne (Kent)51.34073 0.731556
Southwell (Nottinghamshire)53.078024 -0.955314
Street (Somerset)51.125021 -2.731309
St_Ives (Cornwall)50.211448 -5.480755
Sunnyside (Somerset)51.224023 -2.321054
Swarland (Northumberland)55.327894 -1.742619
Tenterden (Kent)51.069606 0.689959
Totnes (Devon)50.43145 -3.691094
Tranent (East_Lothian)55.94457 -2.954029
Trowbridge (Wiltshire)51.320106 -2.208047
Urchfont (Wiltshire)51.312 -1.942501
Westbury (Wiltshire)51.459707 -2.20228
West_Stoughton (Somerset)51.234219 -2.838716
Whitstable (Kent)51.357079 1.024655
Yeovil (Somerset)50.943755 -2.629748