The Varieties of English for Specific Purposes dAtabase (VESPA): Towards a multi-L1 and multi-register learner corpus of disciplinary writing
The Varieties of English for Specific Purposes dAtabase (VESPA first release) is the result of an international corpus compilation project that aims to address the lack of large-scale, open access, multi-L1, multi-discipline and multi-register learner corpora. This corpus report provides a detailed description of VESPA and illustrates possible uses of the corpus for register exploration of learner data. Specifically, it first offers an overview of the makeup of the corpus and the online interface that can be used to search and download the corpus. It then gives an illustrative example of a study where multi-dimensional analysis was used to investigate the relative importance of register vis-à-vis other factors in learner academic writing. In the concluding remarks, we identify priorities for future developments in the VESPA project, including the addition of more L1 components, more disciplines and more registers, as well as the compilation of a comparable corpus of native student writing.
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