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LEDS Session 7 – 25th March – Dr Almut Koester: Linguistic ethnography and corpus linguistics

13 February 2020

We are delighted to announce that on 25th March, the LEDS group will be hosting a distinguished guest speaker, Dr Almut Koester, for a special session entitled Using ethnographic data in designing a small, specialized spoken corpus: The case of care home interactions.

Dr Koester is Professor of English Business Communication at Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). Prior to her appointment to a chair in English Business Communication at the WU in September 2014, she was Senior Lecturer in English Language at the University of Birmingham in England. She is author of The Language of Work (2004), Investigating Workplace Discourse (2006) and Workplace Discourse (2010). She researches spoken workplace discourse and business corpora and is actively involved in applying research findings to teaching Business English.

In this session, Almut will talk about a care home project in which naturally-occurring interactions were audio-recorded and transcribed in order to build a small, specialized corpus. Besides considering some general issues of collecting ethnographic and audio data in care home interactions, the session will deal with specific questions relating to the use of ethnographic data in building a spoken corpus.

Questions to consider will include:

  • What ethnographic information should be included in a corpus?
  • How can such information be built into the corpus design so that it is easily retrievable and can be used to inform the corpus analysis?

Through discussion of Almut’s work, we have a valuable opportunity to learn about a powerful approach to combining ethnographic data with a corpus linguistic analysis – an approach that is slightly different to much linguistic ethnographic work.