Blog Archives

Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 31 October Xavier Dekeyser will present “The Impact of Prescriptive Grammar on Actual Usage: Scope for Research” in 1162 005 from 12:00-13:00. All welcome!

Lowth Symposium

On 17-18 December 2010 the University of Leiden will a host a symposium on Robert Lowth commemorating his 300th birthday. An official call for papers will be published in the near future. People who are interested in attending can already contact The Codifiers and the English Language Project via

Calls for Papers and Panels:

Prescriptivism and patriotism from nationalism to globalization

August 17-19, 2009. New College, University of Toronto, Canada.

This international conference centres on the historical and contemporary links between linguistic prescriptivism and political patriotism. Two research questions inform it. What roles have domestic politics, globalization, or transnational migration patterns played in the emergence of linguistic varieties like Standard English, Scots, Singlish, International French, chiac, English and French creoles? And to what extent have these varieties been shaped by prescriptive attitudes and instruments like dictionaries? “Prescriptivism and patriotism” is inspired by previous meetings and publications on linguistic prescriptivism: one at the University of Sheffield with a symposium on eighteenth-century English (2003); another at the University of Catania on prescriptivism in later modern English more generally (2006). Read more »

Notation of dates in England vs America

Lyda Fens-de Zeeuw is very curious to learn more about why/when/(how) the notation of dates in letters became different in U.S. English as opposed to British English (or vice versa??), i.e. mm-dd-year vs. dd-mm-year. What was common in England in the Early Modern period? and in America? And how did this develop later? Since when(exactly?) was there a structurally different way of notation? (Her own corpus of the eighteenth-century American-born grammarian Lindley Murray shows dd-mm-year exclusively). Read more »

Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 6 June Raymond Hickey will present "Introducing Corpus Presenter" in 1168 004 from 11:00-13:00. All welcome! If you want to know more about this programme for software analysis please follow the link


"You can now search and download around 35,000 Royal Navy wills. The wills cover men who joined the Royal Navy between 1786 and 1882." You can find these through the web link below:

Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 11 April Anita Auer will present "The design and objectives of the Leiden Northern English Letter Corpus" in 1168 004 from 12:00-13:00. All welcome!

Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 14 March Mike Scott will present "A Demonstration of the Concordancing Program WordSmith" in 1168 004 from 11:00-13:00. All welcome! If you are interested in the possibilities of such programs, you can read the following article by Paul Baker. Download file

Peter Green and the English of Tristan da Cunha

At the moment Bas van Elburg is doing research into the English of Pieter Groen (Peter Green), a Dutchman who spent most of his life on the island of Tristan da Cunha (Atlantic Ocean) in the 19th and early 20th centuries. With hardly any formal education Pieter Groen boarded ships at an early age to hunt seals until he was shipwrecked off the coast of Tristan da Cunha in 1836. He decided to stay on the island and lived in a small community of people who, by the time of his arrival, had already developed an English dialect consisting of features from several British input varieties. A number of letters written by Pieter Groen in his later life, however, show a variety that is close to standard British English. A possible explanation for this is that he was an autodidact. Bas van Elburg would like to know if other cases exist of self-taught persons who acquired second (standard) language learning in similar circumstances.

Richard M. Hogg Prize

The Executive Committee for the International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE) would like to draw your attention to the Richard M. Hogg prize, an essay competition for students of English Language and English Linguistics. You can find further information about the prize here:

You can become a provisional member of ISLE by contacting the society’s secretary, Graeme Trousdale ( Please note that the closing date for submissions for the Hogg prize is 31 March 2008.