Routledge publishes history of groundbreaking BBC Voices project

Clive Upton, Susie Dent, David Crystal, Simon Elmes contribute to ongoing legacy and research applications of contemporary British dialects

Monday 20 May 2013 - For immediate release
Oxford, UK

Why are we so obsessed with the English language? Launched in 2005, the BBC Voices project gathered thousands of contributions to draw a diverse map of contemporary British dialects. Eight years later, Voices continues to fascinate and its findings are informing a new generation of linguistic research.

Edited by sociolinguistic experts Clive Upton and Bethan Davies, and drawing on new data from the high-profile BBC investigation, Analysing 21st Century British English reveals the vibrancy of Britain’s linguistic variation – and why acknowledging British Englishes is more important than ever.

The BBC Voices project, led by Upton, gathered contemporary English dialect samples from all over the UK and invited contributions from the public. Analysing 21st Century British English explores issues of ideology and representation behind the project, and the invaluable research uses of its raw linguistic data. With contributions from leading media and language commentators, and an interactive website showcasing a searchable lexis database and interpretive maps, Upton and Davies present the most important collection of quantifiable data on language variation and change in Britain today.

Professor Upton said: “Before the BBC Voices project, no broadcasting organisation had ever collaborated with academics on a large-scale study of everyday English speech … in this book, the UK-wide project opens a window on local speech and on attitudes to language varieties, empowering communities in their use of local language and providing scholars with unprecedented insights into the state of English today.”

Visit the project companion website here:

978-0-415-69443-8 | £35.00 in paperback | May 2013
Available for interviews and media features – contact Ilaria Parodi for a review copy (details below).

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Ilaria Parodi, Partnership Manager, Routledge Humanities
Tel: +44 (0)207 017 7960 | Email:

Deb Donnelly-Robinson, Marketing Manager, Routledge English Language and Applied Linguistics
Tel: +44 (0)207 017 4271 | Email:

Table of Contents
1. Voices: a unique BBC adventure—Simon Elmes
2. Voices: a case study in the evolution of a linguistic climate at the BBC—David Crystal
3. Constructions of expertise and authority on a language-themed discussion forum: linguists, linguistics and the public—Bethan L. Davies
4. Diverse Voices, Public Broadcasts: sociolinguistic representations in mainstream programming—Alexandra Jaffe
5. Afrikaans is bobaas: Linguistic citizenship on the BBC Voices website—Tommaso M. Milani and Mooniq Shaikjee
6. Language Ideology and Conversationalized Interactivity in Voices—Will Turner
7. Mapping the Word: Local Vocabulary and its Themes—Susie Dent
8. Voices in Wales: a new national survey—Rob Penhallurick
9. Voices of the UK: The British Library description of the BBC Voices Recordings collection—Jonathan Robinson, Jon Herring, and Holly Gilbert
10. Focus on voices in North-east England—Ann Thompson
11. Blurred Boundaries: the dialect word from the BBC—Clive Upton
12. Voices dialectometry at the University of Sheffield—John Holliday
13. Voices dialectometry at the University of Groningen—Martijn Wieling

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