LINGUIST List 14.1986

Tue Jul 22 2003

Sum: Spoken vs. Written Language

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Nicole Dehe, spoken vs. written language

Message 1: spoken vs. written language

Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2003 10:16:13 +0000
From: Nicole Dehe <>
Subject: spoken vs. written language

I would like to thank all who have responded to my request for
information about (empirical or theoretical) studies on spoken
vs. written language, constituent order alternation in particular,
posted on the LinguistList a while ago (Linguist 14.1906). Here is a
A lot of corpus work investigating the difference between spoken and
written language has been done by Douglas Biber and colleagues. Here
are some publications:
BIBER, Douglas. (1986). ''Spoken and written textual dimensions in
English.'' In: Language 62(2): 384-414.

BIBER, Douglas. (1988). Variation across Speech and
Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

BIBER, Douglas et al (1998). Corpus linguistics: Investigating
language structure and use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

BIBER, Douglas et al (1999). Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written

BIBER, Douglas et al (2002). ''Speaking and Writing in the University:
A Multidimensional Comparison''. In: TESOL 36: 9-48.
Jim Miller (and colleagues) have also done a lot of work on the
topic. Here are two references:
MILLER, Jim & Regina Weinert. 1998. Spontaneous Spoken Language:
Syntax and Discourse. Oxford: Clarendon. (REVIEWED by J.L. Mackenzie,
in Journal of Linguistics 37 (2001): 225-229.)

MILLER, Jim. 2001. ''Spoken and written language''. In: Pragmatic
Organisation of Discourse in the languages of Europe, Vol. 1;
ed. G. Bernini; Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Other obvious studies are:
HALLIDAY, M.A.K. 1985. Spoken and Written Language.

AKINNASO, F. 1982. ''On the difference between spoken and written
language''. In Language and Speech 25: 97-125.

TANNEN, D. (ed.) 1984. Coherence in Spoken and Written
Discourse. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
There is also work on specific constructions, e.g.:
On ellipsis:

GREENBAUM, S. & G. NELSON, 1999. Elliptical clauses in spoken and
written English. In P. Collins and D.Lee (eds) The Clause in English:
in honour of Rodney Huddleston. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Reviewed
by B.Aarts, in Journal of Linguistics 37/2 (2001), 423-428.

On coordination and subordination: BEAMAN, K. 1984. ''Coordination and
subordination revisited: Syntactic complexity in spoken and written
narrative discourse.'' In: D. Tannen (ed.), Coherence in Spoken and
Written Discourse. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 44-80.
There is a grammar (in prep.) by R. CARTER & M. CARTHY (A Spoken and
Written Grammar of English for Advanced Level; Cambridge University
Don't hesitate to email me for a complete list of the work that was
suggested to me.
Thanks again, Nicole 
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