Early Modern English Trials: Introducing the Corpus

Emma Pasquali

University of Naples L’Orientale

This paper illustrates the peculiarities of the Corpus of Early Modern English Trials (1650-1700),

henceforth EMET, a highly specialized historical corpus of trial proceedings. The main purpose of

the creation of the above-mentioned corpus is to shed light on the pragmatic aspects of Early Modern

spoken English, since trial proceedings are considered records of authentic dialogues (Culpeper and

Kytö 2010:17).

The initial part of the essay will illustrate the phase of the archives consultation, the criteria

behind the selection of the trials and it will also discuss the technical stages that are necessary to the

uploading of a corpus on #LancsBox and its study. Afterwards, the EMET itself will be presented by

specifying the number of documents, the total number of tokens, the types of charges involved and

the average number of tokens per text. Besides, the paper will also present a prototype of trial

information sheet that will provide a guide for users.

The final part of the study will display a comparison between the EMET and A Corpus of

English Dialogues 1560-1760 (CED), in order to underline the kinship and the differences they



Primary Sources

CED = A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560-1760 (2005). Compiled by Merja Kytö (Uppsala

University, Sweden) and Jonathan Culpeper (Lancaster University, England).

Secondary Sources

Brezina, V. / Timperley, M. / McEnery, T. (2018). #LancsBox v. 4.x [software]. Available at:


Culpeper, J. / Kytö, M. (1997). "Towards a corpus of dialogues, 1550-1750." In Language in Time

and Space: Studies in Honour of Wolfgang Viereck on the Occasion of his 60th Birthday,

edited by H. Ramisch and K. Wynne (eds), 60-73. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Culpeper, J. / Kytö, M. (2010). Early Modern English Dialogues: Spoken Interaction as Writing.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Garside, R. / Leech, G. / McEnery, T. (eds). (1997). Corpus Annotation: Linguistic Information from

Computer Text Corpora. London: Taylor & Francis.

Kytö, M. / Walker, T. (2003). "The Linguistic Study of Early Modern English Speech- Related Texts

How 'Bad' can 'Bad' Data Be?" Journal of English Linguistics, 31:221-248.

Week 6 2021/2022

Thursday 18th November 2021

Microsoft Teams - request a link via email