eWAVE -- the electronic World Atlas of Varieties of English

Dear members of the Cyberling community,

upon the kind invitation by Emily Bender, this is to inform you that

FRIAS -- the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies -- and the Max-Planck-Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig) proudly announce the availability of a fascinating new OPEN ACCESS online tool which can be exploited both in research and teaching on the grammars of varieties of English worldwide:

eWAVE -- the electronic World Atlas of Varieties of English, edited by Bernd Kortmann and Kerstin Lunkenheimer. Just click on the link at the bottom of this message and see for yourselves!

eWAVE was designed and compiled at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) and the English Department of the University of Freiburg, Germany, between 2008 and 2011. eWAVE is an interactive database on morphosyntactic variation in spontaneous spoken English mapping 235 features from about a dozen domains of grammar in 48 varieties of English (traditional dialects, high-contact mother-tongue Englishes, and indigenized 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 from descriptive materials, naturalistic corpus data, and native speaker knowledge by a team of 80 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 has the potential for serving 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, and the study of World Englishes and learner Englishes.

What eWAVE can do for you
eWAVE facilitates the investigation of global-scale patterns of morphosyntactic variation in English and helps answering questions like the following:
• Which features are most/least widespread across varieties of English worldwide?
• How many varieties of English worldwide share feature X?
• Is feature X restricted to or characteristic of a particular part of the English-speaking world?
• Is feature X restricted to or characteristic of a particular group of varieties?
• Does variety A have feature X?
• In which area of grammar does variety A differ most from variety B?

The information required to answer questions of this kind can be found in the central parts of eWAVE: the varieties index, the features index, and the individual variety and feature profiles. These combine searchable catalogues of varieties and of morphosyntactic features with interactive maps, and allow you to explore in detail the distribution of features within and across varieties of English and English-based Pidgins and Creoles worldwide (see the help pages for more details). Ultimately, the information provided in eWAVE can also be used for the investigation of more general questions, such as the following: Which features generally are characteristic of a particular variety type (e.g. L2 varieties)? In which domain of grammar is there most/least heterogeneity/homogeneity among varieties of English worldwide? Are English-based pidgins and creoles as a group significantly different from other varieties in terms of morphosyntax?

eWAVE was partly designed and entirely programmed in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig), and is also hosted by MPI-EVA. Since eWAVE is designed as an evolving interactive tool, we are planning to have annual updates. A similar project is the MPI-EVA's Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures (APiCS, edited by Michaelis, Maurer, Haspelmath and Huber), which is due to appear in 2012, both as a book atlas and as an electronic database like eWAVE.

This is how to access eWAVE: http://www.ewave-atlas.org

Best wishes,
Bernd Kortmann

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