Chapter 48

Bernd Kortmann

Part III, Section on Typology and typological change
48. Typology and typological change in English historical linguistics
Description: additional information about the eWAVE resource

eWAVE in a nutshell

Bernd Kortmann and Kerstin Lunkenheimer, eds. 2011. The electronic World Atlas of Varieties of English [eWAVE]. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

The electronic World Atlas of Varieties of English (eWAVE) is the largest-ever interactive database on grammatical variation in spontaneous spoken English, mapping 235 features in 48 varieties of English (traditional dialects, high-contact mother tongue Englishes, and indiginized second-language Englishes) and 26 English-based Pidgins and Creoles in eight Anglophone world regions (Africa, Asia, Australia, British Isles, Caribbean, North America, Pacific and the South Atlantic). It was compiled between 2008 and 2011 from descriptive materials, naturalistic corpus data, and native speaker knowledge by a team of 70 contributors, all leading experts in their fields, directed by Bernd Kortmann and Kerstin Lunkenheimer. eWAVE is unique not only in its coverage and user-friendliness, but also in being an open access resource. As such it will serve both as a teaching tool in academic teaching around the world and as an indispensable research tool by specialists in many different fields of linguistics, including creolistics, dialectology, dialect syntax, language change, language typology, sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, the study of World Englishes, and learner Englishes.

eWAVE was partly designed and entirely programmed in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig) where it is also hosted. It is planned to have annual updates of eWAVE based on the input by the world-wide research community. This input will be filtered and judged for its reliability once a year by an eWAVE board of leading experts. In autumn 2012, De Gruyter Mouton will publish the Mouton World Atlas of Varieties of English, offering perspectivizing accounts of individual examples of the 74 data sets in eWAVE as well as large-scale comparisons across the individual variety types and Anglophone world regions.

The two editors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) in the design and data collection phase of the project. Bernd Kortmann enjoyed an Internal Senior Fellowship from April 2008 until September 2009 and Kerstin Lunkenheimer a research assistantship from September 2008 until March 2009. All praise for the design and user-friendliness of eWAVE as an online resource goes to its programmer, Hagen Jung, and Hans-Jörg Bibiko (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig).

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