DECTE: The Talk of the Toon

News summary

The Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (DECTE) is a new online corpus of vernacular Tyneside speech currently being collated in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University.

DECTE updates the Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (NECTE), which combined and digitized the Tyneside Linguistic Survey (TLS) of the 1960s and the Phonological Variation and Change in Contemporary Spoken English (PVC) corpus of the 1990s. This material will be augmented with the monitor corpus NECTE2, which consists of dyadic interviews, involving a variety of local informants from a range of social groups, that have been collected and digitized by undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers at Newcastle University since 2007 in an ongoing teaching and learning initiative funded by CRiLLS (Centre for Research in Linguistics and Language Sciences).

DECTE will therefore constitute a very rare example of a publicly available online corpus presenting data spanning five decades. Moreover, since NECTE2 continues to grow and employs the same method of sociolinguistic interviews with defined protocols that underpins the NECTE material, linking the two as DECTE will create a monitor corpus that has the potential to be expanded by between 80 and 120 audio/text files annually, thus offering a wealth of variationist data for longitudinal analyses. We will also be working with our project partners, Beamish Museum and Discovery Museum, and the Northern Region Film & Television Archive to incorporate a visual element into the corpus. The intention here is to find innovative technical solutions for linking images that capture topics and events of cultural significance, such as local industries and urban regeneration, with the narratives on these subjects found in the NECTE and NECTE2 interviews, thereby establishing DECTE as an extensive collection of speech, text and images relating to both the language and the local history of Tyneside. With this sort of scope and interactive multi-media format, DECTE is intended to build upon the successful use of NECTE as a teaching and learning resource in HE, FE and secondary schools, becoming a tool suitable for a wider range of museum and classroom applications, and aimed at the general public as well as all levels of the education sector from primary to higher. If you have any questions, or you want to share your views on how DECTE should look, please e-mail

DECTE is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.