In 1995, five years after the start of the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE), the CECL launched a new project, the Louvain International Database of Spoken English Interlanguage (LINDSEI). The aim of this project was to provide a spoken counterpart to ICLE, containing oral data produced by advanced learners of English from several mother tongue backgrounds. The first component was compiled at the CECL and contained transcripts of 50 interviews with French mother tongue learners of English, for a total of about 100,000 words of learner language. It was followed by other components, compiled by the international partners of the project for different mother tongue backgrounds. To date, eleven components have been completed and made available on CD-ROM, and more are in the pipeline.
All the components follow the same structure, with c. 50 interviews made up of three tasks: set topic, free discussion and picture description. The interviews are transcribed and marked-up according to the same conventions, and each of them is linked to a profile which contains information about the learner, the interviewer and the interview itself. This information makes it possible to study the possible influence of certain factors on learner language.
Note that, alongside the non-native varieties of English, a comparable corpus of interviews with native speakers of English has been compiled (LOCNEC), so that interlanguage and native language can be compared and the universal and L1-specific features of oral interlanguage identified. The fact that LINDSEI and ICLE have been built according to similar principles and share as many as ten mother tongue backgrounds also means that they can be used in combination with each other to compare spoken and written interlanguage.
The studies that have already been carried out on the basis of data from LINDSEI illustrate some of the ways in which the database can be exploited, on its own or in conjunction with other corpora, to investigate various aspects of learner English such as lexis, syntax, phraseology, discourse or pragmatics.
Centre for English Corpus Linguistics
Place Blaise Pascal 1
Past project coordinators:
Sylvie De Cock (1995-2006)
Stephanie Petch-Tyson (1995-2003)
The Louvain LINDSEI team:
Sylvie De Cock