Pre-conference Workshops

Workshop 1

Genderlectal differentiation in the Outer and Expanding Circles? Corpus-linguistic explorations


 Workshop convenor

Tobias Bernaisch (Justus Liebig University Gießen)

Workshop summary

The ways in which females and males use linguistic resources is a seemingly timeless and all-pervasive topic in the popular media (e.g. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, Gray (1992)). Academic examinations of present-day English – be they anecdotal or empirical – have similarly sought to delineate inter alia phonetic (cf. Weinberg & Bennett 1971), lexical (cf. Lakoff 1977) and grammatical (cf. Cheshire 1978) characteristics of the two gender groups for several decades. As women have repeatedly been empirically profiled as leaders of linguistic change (cf. e.g. Labov 1990; Nevalainen 1996; Raumolin-Brunberg & Nurmi 1997), it is hardly surprising that there is also a pronounced interest in genderlectal variation in the history of English (see e.g. Pallander-Collin (cf. 1999: 125) discussing spelling variation or Nevalainen (2002) on pragmatic principles of address forms in Early Modern English).

Despite extensive research in the field, studies of gender and English have generally relied on native speaker data – with a few laudable exceptions such as Lange (cf. 2012: 189–191) profiling Indian women as linguistic innovators in their outer-circle variety. Thus, the proposed workshop widens the scope of genderlectal research via the systematic exploration of English-as-a-second- (ESL) and English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) varieties by addressing the following and related research questions in an empirically valid fashion:

  • What is the (statistical) importance and role of gender as a sociolinguistic variable in comparison to others such as age, social class, ethnicity, etc. in structural choices in ESL and EFL varieties and do results imply that gender lects are robust subcategories of outer- and expanding-circle varieties;
  • Are there differences in how females and males contribute to linguistic changes in outer- and expanding-circle varieties and what implications do these findings have for the alleged paradigm gap between ESL and EFL varieties;
  • Does methodological triangulation of corpus analyses with e.g. survey data, eye-tracking experiments, etc. in outer- and expanding-circle varieties enable the identification of females or males as agents of linguistic change in a statistically sound manner when the change concerned is only in its infancy and relevant corpus-based frequencies thus very low;
  • To what extent do indigenous cultural differences across the sexes (e.g. in Japanese with gender-specific sentence-final particles (cf. Jorden 1974)) influence female and male structural choices across various ESL and EFL varieties and what are resulting implications for the definition of gender in relation to biological sex across the three Kachruvian (1985) circles?

Call for papers

Abstracts should be between 400 and 500 words in length (excluding references). Given the strict limit in terms of the maximum number of ICAME delegates, work-in-progress reports can unfortunately not be considered and single-authored papers are particularly welcome. Abstracts should be sent to and the deadline for abstract submission is 31st December 2016. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by the end of January 2017.


Cheshire, J. (1978): “Present verbs in reading English”, Sociolinguistic Patterns in British English, P. Trudgill (ed.). London: Edward Arnold, 52–68.

Gray, J. (1992): Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in your Relationships. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Jorden, E. (1974): “Language – female and feminine”, Proceedings of a US-Japanese Sociolinguistics Meeting, B. Hoffer (ed.).San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press, 59–72.

Kachru, B. B. (1985): “Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: the English language in the outer circle”, English in the World: Teaching and Learning the Language and Literatures, R. Quirk & H.G. Widdowson (eds). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 11–30.

Labov, W. (1990): “The intersection of sex and social class in the course of linguistic change”,Language Variation and Change 2: 205–254.

Lakoff, R. (1977): “Women’s language”, Language and Style 10(4): 222–247.

Lange, C. (2012): The Syntax of Spoken Indian English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Nevalainen, T. (1996): “Gender difference”,Sociolinguistics and Language History: Studies Based on the Corpus of Early English Correspondence, T. Nevalainen& H. Raumolin-Brunberg (eds).Amsterdam: Rodopi, 57–76.

Nevalainen, T. (2002): “Language and woman’s place in earlier English”, Journal of English Linguistics 30(2): 181–199.

Pallander-Collin, M. (1999): “Male and female styles in 17th century correspondence: i think”, Language Variation and Change 11: 123–141.

Raumolin-Brunberg, H. & A. Nurmi (1997): “Dummies on the move: prop-one and affirmative do in the 17th century”, To Explain the Present Studies in the Changing English Language in Honour of Matti Rissanen (Mémoires de la SociétéLinguistique 52), T. Nevalainen & L. Kahlas-Tarkka (eds). Helsinki: Modern Language Society, 395– 417.

Weinberg, B. &S. Bennett (1971): “Speaker sex recognition of 5- and 6-year-old children’s speech”, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 50(4): 1210–1213.


Workshop 2

Corpora et comparatio linguarum: Textual and contextual perspectives


Workshop convenors

Hilde Hasselgård & Signe Oksefjell Ebeling (University of Oslo)   

Keynote speaker

Prof.  Libuše Dušková (Charles University, Prague)

Workshop summary

We continue the tradition of offering a contrastive pre-conference workshop at ICAME. To reflect the fact that we will be in the home university of the Prague School and Functional Sentence Perspective, this year’s edition invites papers focusing on textual and contextual matters in a cross-linguistic perspective. Papers at the workshop should compare English with at least one other language on the basis of parallel (translation) or comparable corpora.

The workshop includes a keynote presentation by Prof. Libuše Dušková, Charles University in Prague. The remaining programme will consist of full papers (20 min.) and work-in-progress reports (10 min.).

 Call for papers

Abstracts of approx. 400 words, excluding references, should be submitted by email to both Hilde Hasselgård ( and Signe Oksefjell Ebeling ( deadline for abstract submission is 15 January 2017.

Notification of acceptance will be sent out by the end of January 2017.


Workshop 3

Advances in corpora of legal English: investigating variation in legal discourse


Workshop convenors

Teresa Fanego (Santiago de Compostela) & Paula Rodríguez-Puente (Oviedo)                         

Keynote speaker: Douglas Biber (Northern Arizona)

Workshop summary

Investigation into law and language is extensive. For linguists, interest in the field emanates from the recognition of law language as a fruitful source of data for linguistic analysis and for testing theories about language and discourse. For researchers in other disciplines, such as psychology, sociology and anthropology, language as it operates within the legal system serves as a vehicle for understanding the legal process itself but also “as a means for investigating psychological processes, societal interactions, or cultural traits” (Schane 2006: 4). The approach adopted in this workshop is primarily linguistic. We will therefore be concerned with issues such as the following:

(1) Existing typologies of legal discourse,which are based mostly on contemporary usage, account for the heterogeneity of legal language by distinguishing legal texts in terms of:

  • their degree of formality – frozen, formal, consultative and casual are labels often used in this connection; see Danet (1980);
  • their communicative purpose – whether this is academic, juridical or legislative; see Bhatia (1987);
  • their mode (written vs oral).

Questions that emerge here pertain, first, to whether such categorizations can also be fruitfully applied to the analysis of legal discourse in earlier stages of English. Secondly, to the availability, or non availability, of databases adequate to carry out such an analysis.

To address both questions, the workshop will survey recent developments in the compilation of electronic corpora containing legal documents of various kinds, both synchronic and diachronic. Among these, the following deserve special mention: Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760 (Kytö & Culpeper 2006); American Law Corpus (Goźdź-Roszkowski 2011); Old Bailey Corpus (Huber et al. 2012); Corpus of Early Modern English Statutes 1491–1707 (Lehto 2013); CHELAR – Corpus of Historical English Law Reports 15351999 (Rodríguez-Puente, Fanego et al. 2016, Fanego, Rodríguez-Puente et al. 2017); the legal component in ARCHER 3.2 – A Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers (Biber et al. 1990–1993/2002/2007/2010/2013).

(2) Both classic (e.g. Mellinkoff 1963, Crystal & Davy 1967, Gustaffsson 1975, Finegan 1982, Bhatia 1993) and recent (Scotto di Carlo 2015) treatments of the language and law interface have drawn attention to various lexical, morphosyntactic and discoursal features that are claimed to be inextricably linked to the language of the law: use of Norman words that have not found their way into general currency, heavy use of compound adverbs such as hereof, whereof, hereinafter, binomial and multinomial expressions (e.g. within Singapore or elsewhere), lexical bundles and phraseological units (e.g. the benefit of, it is clear that, on the basis that), intricate patterns of coordination and subordination, impersonal style and frequent use of passive constructions, conditional constructions, etc. The problem, however, is that exemplification of all such features tends to draw heavily on legislative texts such as acts of parliament and statutory instruments, these being, in fact, the only legal writings usually discussed in the relevant literature. The workshop, therefore, will also address the question of internal variation across legal genres: how and to what extent do legal genres differ from, or are similar to, each other?

(3) Other important dimensions of variation in legal discourse pertain to diachronic variation (how does the current legal language, or languages, differ from the historic one?) and to so-called ‘external’ variation (how does legal language differ from other registers, or from other languages for special purposes?). The development of Multi-Dimensional analysis from the 1990s onwards (Biber 1988, 1995, 2001, 2013, etc.), and the recent advances in the compilation of synchronic and diachronic corpora of legal English mentioned under (1) above, have now provided the resources enabling researchers to carry out corpus-based comprehensive analyses of variation in legal discourse over time, as well as relative to other genres and registers.

Call for papers

We invite the submission of abstracts for full papers and work-in-progress reports. The recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the various issues mentioned n the workshop description. Abstracts should be approx. 400 words (excluding references). All submissions (in pdf format) should be sent by email to Teresa Fanego at or Paula Rodríguez-Puente at

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 10 January 2017.


Bhatia, Vijay K. 1987. Language of the law. Language Teaching 1987: 227234.

Biber, Douglas. 1988. Variation across speech and writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Biber, Douglas. 1995. Dimensions of register variation: A cross-linguistic perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Biber, Douglas. 2001. Dimensions of variation among 18th century registers. In H. J. Diller and M. Görlach (eds.). Towards a history of English as a history of genres, 89–110. Heidelberg: C. Winter.

Biber, Douglas. 2013. Multi-Dimensional analysis. A personal history. In T. Berber Sardinha and M. Veirano Pinto (eds.). Multi-Dimensional analysis, 25 years on. A tribute to Douglas Biber, xxixxxxviii. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Biber, Douglas et al. 1990–1993/2002/2007/2010/2013. ARCHER 3.2.A Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers, version 3.2. Originally compiled under the supervision of Douglas Biber and Edward Finegan at Northern Arizona University and University of Southern California; modified and expanded by subsequent members of a consortium of universities. Current member universities are Bamberg, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Helsinki, Lancaster, Leicester, Manchester, Michigan, Northern Arizona, Santiago de Compostela, Southern California, Trier, Uppsala, Zurich.

Crystal, David & Derek Davy. 1969. Investigating English style. London: Longman.

Danet, Brenda. 1980. Language in the courtroom. In H. Giles, P. Smith & W. P. Robinson (eds.). Language: Social and psychological perspectives, 367–376. Oxford: Pergamon.

Fanego, Teresa / Paula Rodríguez Puente et al. 2017. “The Corpus of Historical English Law Reports 1535-1999 (CHELAR): A resource for analysing the development of English legal discourse.” ICAME Journal 41.

Finegan, Edward. 1982. Form and function in testament language. In R. J. Di Pietro (ed.). Linguistics and the professions. Proceedings of the Second Annual Delaware Symposium on Language Studies, 113–120. Norwood, N. J.: Ablex.

Huber, Magnus / Magnus Nissel / Patrick Maiwald / Bianca Widlitzki, compilers. 2012. The Old Bailey Corpus. Spoken English in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Goźdź-Roszkowski, Stanisƚaw. 2011. Patterns of linguistic variation in American legal English. A corpus-based study. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Gustaffsson, Marita. 1975. Some syntactic properties of English law language. Turku: Department of English, University of Turku.

Kytö, Merja & Jonathan Culpeper, compilers. 2006. Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760.

Lehto, Anu. 2013. Complexity and genre conventions. Text structure and coordination in Early Modern English proclamations. In A. H. Jucker, D. Landert, A. Seiler and N. Studer-Joho (eds.). Meaning in the history of English. Words and texts in context, 233–256. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Mellinkoff, David. 1963. The language of the law. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

Rodríguez-Puente, Paula / Teresa Fanego / María José López-Couso / Belén Méndez-Naya / Paloma Núñez-Pertejo, compilers. 2016. Corpus of Historical English Law Reports 1535–1999 (CHELAR). University of Santiago de Compostela: Research Unit for Variation, Linguistic Change and Grammaticalization, Department of English and German.

Schane, Sanford. 2006. Language and the law. London: Continuum.

Scotto di Carlo, Giuseppina. 2015. Diachronic and synchronic aspects of legal English: Past, present, and possible future of legal English. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Workshop 4

Back to text – Contextualizing corpus data in historical and variationist English linguistics


Workshop convenors

Kristin Bech (University of Oslo) & Ruth Möhlig-Falke (Heidelberg University)         

Workshop summary

Over the last years, English corpus linguistics has increasingly favoured larger and larger corpora, which are analysed by ever more sophisticated computational tools. The result are studies which tend to rely on predefined categorisations of the corpus data and statistical analyses, and which in­vestigate language in a largely decontextualized way, i.e. without placing the language material with­­in its communicative context. However, historical and diachronic investigations, as well as studies on varieties of English, may profit from more contextual background knowledge about the texts that are part of available corpora and about the textual and communicative traditions in which they stand.
This workshop is especially aimed at the new generation of corpus linguists using historical, diachronic or variational corpora while often having little sociocultural, historical or philological training. It will offer a forum for discussing important aspects of the contextual back­ground of the texts that are part of historical and variational corpora of English. What is the nature of the different texts and discourses included and what should one know in order to be able to evaluate the results obtained from them properly? What may be missed if cor­pora are used mainly as data pools to be analysed through concordance programmes and other cor­pus software and if language material is no longer analysed within the context of the text and the socio­cultural discourse of which it is part?
Invited experts in the field of corpus compilation, historical and variationist linguistics, and medieval studies will discuss the criteria by which they selected texts for their corpora, and demonstrate which contextual background they can include on the basis of knowing the texts and textual traditions – and hence which information should ideally be considered by next generations of corpus users. Although practical hints on how to work with particular corpora are also welcome, the focus is explicitly not on practical questions, but on the nature of the textual material included.
The workshop will cover a selection of both multipurpose and specialised corpora that have been compiled for the investigation of different historical periods, registers or varieties of English, and also discuss the (historical) textual transmission of English in general.

Call for papers

There will be no open call for presentation in this workshop, but we will welcome a wide audience for discussion.


Úvod > Programme > Pre-conference Workshops