Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Summary Details

Query:   Sum: spoken vs. written language
Author:  Nicole Dehe
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Lexicography

Summary:   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


LL Issue: 14.1986
Date Posted: 22-Jul-2003
Original Query: Read original query


Sums main page