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the UVic sociolinguistics research lab: SLRL



Established January 2010.


Director: Dr. Alexandra D’Arcy


The SocioLinguistics Research Lab (SLRL) is located in Clearihue D345. It currently hosts 5 iMac workstations. It also has free workspace for students with portable laptops and a sound booth for interviews and participant interactions.





The SLRL was home to iSLR Field Recorder™, a custom iPod/iPad App for sociolinguistic fieldwork. iSLR featured automatic randomization of word lists, font size adjustment, interval adjustment, and remote upload of sound and .txt file copies of presented lists. This app was available for free at the iTunes store for 2013–2015 and was downloaded roughly 8000 times. We hope that those of you who used it found it helpful.





The SLRL currently houses the following corpora, all of which are available for use by students and faculty in the Department:


Private corpora constructed by SLRL members (for more information on these, contact us):

Canterbury Regional Corpus, New Zealand (compiled 2006)

St. John’s Youth English Corpus (compiled 2000)

Spoken English in Victoria Corpus (compiled 2010– )

Diachronic Corpus of Victoria English, DCVE (compiled 2012)

Synchronic Corpus of Victoria English, SCVE (compiled 2012)


Private corpora the SLRL stewards (for more information on these, contact us):

Edinburgh Sociolinguistic Survey (compiled 1975)

Survey of Vancouver English (compiled 1978–1981)



Public corpora the SLRL holds site licenses for (please visit the corpus sites for full details and citations):


Buckeye Speech Corpus

The Buckeye Corpus of conversational speech contains high-quality recordings from 40 speakers in Columbus OH conversing freely with an interviewer (date of recording: 1999 to spring 2000). The speech has been orthographically transcribed and phonetically labeled.


A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760

The Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760 is a 1.2-million word collection of speech-related texts: trial proceedings, witness depositions, drama-comedy, didactic works, prose fiction). 


Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English, 2nd edition (PPCME2)

The PPCME2 text samples are based largely on the Middle English section of the Diachronic Part of the Helsinki Corpus of English Texts (available from ICAME), but the size of the samples is considerably larger. The current edition of the PPCME2 includes a total of roughly 1.2 million words of running text. It comprises 55 text samples, each of which is given in three forms: a text file, a part-of-speech tagged file and a parsed file. In addition, there is a file with philological and bibliographical information about each text.


Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English (PPCEME)

The Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English (over 1.7 million words) is part of an ongoing larger project at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of York to produce syntactically annotated corpora for all stages of the history of English. Each of the texts in the corpus is available in parsed, POS-tagged, and annotated form.


Penn Parsed Corpus of Modern British English (PPCMBE)

Like the Early Modern English Corpus, the Penn Parsed Corpus of Modern British English (almost 1 million words) is part of an ongoing larger project at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of York to produce syntactically annotated corpora for all stages of the history of English. The genre composition has been kept as close as possible to that of the PPCEME.


International Corpus of English (ICE)

The primary aim of the International Corpus of English is to collect material for comparative studies of English worldwide. Each ICE corpus consists of one million words of spoken and written English produced after 1989.  To ensure compatibility among the component corpora, each team follows a common corpus design, as well as a common scheme for grammatical annotation. ICE corpora held by the SLRL are:

Š       Canada

Š       East Africa

Š       Hong Kong

Š       India

Š       Ireland

Š       SPICE-Ireland

Š       Jamaica

Š       Philippines

Š       Singapore

Š       United States (written)



Ongoing research in the SLRL:

Although just established in January 2010, the lab has a number of projects already underway. Our big project is the Victoria English Project, funded by SSHRC. For more information, see Alex’s research page.


1. The Kids Talk Project (SSHRC-funded)


This longitudinal project tracks children over a five-year period to catch vernacular re-organization in progress. If you know a 3 to 5 year old in Victoria who likes to talk, we’d love to talk to you. We can be reached at kidstalk AT uvic DOT ca . #KidsTalk #yyj


2. The Victoria English Project (SSHRC-funded)


(1) Diachronic Corpus of Victoria English [DCVE] (UVic Archives, BC Archives (spoken; written))

(2) Synchronic Corpus of Victoria English [SCVE] (spoken)


UPDATE: We are very excited to report that the corpora are now complete. Thank you Victoria for your generous participation in this project!

The DCVE features 43 Victorians, born in the years 1865 to 1936.

The SCVE features 162 Victorians, ages 14–98, born in the years 1913 to 1996.


Some preliminary points from this project were presented at NWAV40 in October 2011; read the Times Colonist story here. Papers have been presented at ICEHL 17 in August 2012, along with papers at SHEL 8 (September 2013), NWAV 42 (October 2013), NWAV 43 (October 2014) and NWAV 44 (October 2015), as well as at ADS 2015, ADS 2016 and CWSL 2016. Alex D’Arcy also made a public presentation as part of the 50th Anniversary Deans’ Lecture Series on December 5 2012, in Victoria, at the Legacy Arts Gallery. In August 2014 Alex presented the project as part of her plenary presentation at the annual LACUS conference, at the University of British Columbia, and further results were presented at SHEL 10, at the University of Kansas, in June 2017.


We are currently working on direct quotation (I said, she was like), indirect quotation (I said he should sit down), general extenders (…and stuff like that), ‘jod’ dropping (news ~ njews), utterance final tags (eh, right, you know) and the vowel system. A chapter on stative possession (I have/have got a car) was recently published (2015) in Peter Collins (ed.), Grammatical Variation in English World-Wide and some collaborative work with Sali Tagliamonte and Celeste Rodríguez Louro on direct quotation appeared in Language (see Alex’s publications page for details). Other ongoing research examines possession and modality over time, and how these interact with the emergence of do-support. A large overview of the vowel system, with Becky Roeder and Sky Onosson, is currently in press with Journal of English Linguistics, and another paper, with Derek Denis, is under review. Students associated with the lab also have a number of projects ongoing, particularly in the BA (Honours) program.



Visitors to SLRL:

Š       Prof. Dr. Brigitte Halford, Associate Professor: Englisches Seminar, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, August 2010

Š       David Lorenz, PhD student: Frequenzeffekte in der Sprache, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, September–November 2011

Š       Dr. Rob Podesva, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, Stanford, March 2012

Š       Dr. Malcah Yaeger-Dror, Researcher, Cognitive Science, University of Arizona, May 2012

Š       Prof. Dr. Miriam Locher, Chair of English Linguistics, University of Basel, November 2012

Š       Dr. Anita Szakay, Lecturer, Linguistics, Queen Mary University London, December 2012

Š       Dr. Celeste Rodriguez Louro, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, University of Western Australia, January 2013

Š       Prof. Sali Tagliamonte (FRSC), Professor, Linguistics, University of Toronto, October 2013

Š       Dr. Nicole Rosen, CRC and Associate Professor, Linguistics, University of Manitoba, March 2014

Š       Ms. Jessica Wormald, PhD Candidate, Linguistics, University of York, March 2015

Š       Prof. Allan Bell, Professor, Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication, Auckland University of Technology, April 2015

Š       Dr. Derek Denis joined the SLRL as a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Researcher, 2015–2017, and is now in a tenure-track position at the University of Toronto Mississauga

Š       Professor Walt Wolfram, William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor, North Carolina State University, October 2016

Š       Dr. Colette Moore, Associate Professor, English, University of Washington, March 2017

Š       Professor Carla Hudson Kam, CRC in First and Second Language Acquisition, Linguistics, University of British Columbia, April 2017



NEWS: Sociolinguistics in the news


Alex D’Arcy appeared on Shaw TV news (The Daily) in March 2011 to discuss chatspeak. Watch the story.


In November 2011, The Times Columnist ran a piece by Peigi McGillivray about the Victoria English Project. Access it here. Access the rest of the press on the Project (a UVic Top Story of 2011) via Alex’s research page.


The Kids Talk project garnered media attention in December 2016. Read the UVic story here.


In February 2017, Alex D’Arcy appeared in podcast 104 of Lexicon Valley, Like, why do we use like so much, with host John H. McWhorter. Listen here.



NEWS: SLRL-sponsored Workshops


In May 2011, SLRL sponsored CVC V, a student-led workshop that brings together researchers working within the variationist framework on Canadian language varieties or at Canadian institutions. Visit the website for more information.


In March 2014, UVic hosted the inaugural CWSL workshop, also a student-led event. It brought together students (undergraduate and graduate) working on sociolinguistics topics on the Cascadia region or at institutions within the region. Visit the webpage for more information.


In November 2016, UVic co-hosted NWAV4 45 with Simon Fraser University.


In April 2017, SSHRC Post-Doc Derek Denis hosted a Stats Boot Camp for lab members.





Since its foundation in 2010, the SLRL has been generously and continuously funded through the following agencies and opportunities, national and institutional:


Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Standard Research Grant, “Victoria English: Its development and current state” (2011–2014)

Insight Grant, “Only time will tell: Incrementation and language change in the preschool and early elementary years” (2016–2021)


The lab has received funding from the following sources at the University of Victoria:

Š   a SSHRC Internal Research Grant, Faculty of Humanities (2010–2011, 2014–2015, 2015–­2016)

Š   a SSHRC Internal Research/Creative Project Grant, Office of Research Services (2016–2017, 2017–2018)

Š   a SSHRC Internal Research Grant Top-Up Award, Office of Research Services (2011–2012)

Š   a 4A Internal Research Grant, Office of Research Services (2010–2011)

Š   the Work Study Program, Students Awards and Financial Aid (2010, 2010–2011, 2011–2012, 2012–2013, 2013–2014, 2014–2015, 2015–2016, 2016–2017, 2017–2018)


The lab has also received generous start-up support from the Faculty of Humanities at UVic and from the UVic Scholars’ Fund.