COBUILD English Usage: #languagetrends FYI

At the end of last year, I had the fascinating task of being involved in researching recent trends in language usage for the new edition of Collins COBUILD English Usage which has just been published.

CEU4 cover

For those not familiar with the book, it’s neither a grammar book nor a dictionary, but instead takes a wider look at language usage. Aimed at upper-int/advanced learners and teachers, it lists words alphabetically and explores how they are typically used.

For this new edition, I explored several areas where language usage has changed since the last edition (in 2012). Some of the areas I looked into included new coinages, social media, identity, gender, mental health and disability, drawing on data from the ‘New Monitor’ corpus (part of the Collins Corpus containing recent data from news and social media) and a whole variety of other sources. The research turned up some fascinating shifts in usage, as well as leading me down some odd, and sometimes disturbingly dark, linguistic alleys!

Find out more about the project on the Collins Dictionary website (note: if you’re not reading this in Oct 2019, this link may have changed!) and scroll down to read two blog posts I wrote about ‘identity and gender‘ and ‘mental health and disability‘ (these links shouldn’t change).

2 thoughts on “COBUILD English Usage: #languagetrends FYI

  1. Ms Lucy Tilney

    This looks really fascinating, Julie. I’m going to enjoy having a closer look at the way usage has changed over the years. For example, didn’t ‘nice’ mean someone who was stupid or dim in the past?

    Reply

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