Longitudinal Corpus of University College English Accents

H. Quené (Photographer), R. Orr (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/siteOther research output


Speakers in native-language conversations converge towards each other’s speaking behaviour. The LUCEA corpus (Longitudinal University College utrecht Corpus of English Accents) was collected to study this type of phonetic convergence in a multilingual environment. Students and teachers at University College Utrecht (UCU) come from various countries and native languages, yet they all use English as the lingua franca on campus. Hence, phonetic convergence may result in a unique international version of English, influenced by the speakers’ native languages and accents. Such development of an international English accent may also occur in international finance, in military alliances, and in other multilingual teams communicating in English.

The LUCEA corpus consists of high-quality recordings from 4 consecutive cohorts of students (2010 to 2013). Students are followed longitudinally, with up to 5 recordings through their 3-year study at UCU. Each interview consists of read speech and spontaneous monologues in the participants’ native language (L1) and in English, plus a brief dialogue with the interviewer in English. Recordings are conducted in a quiet office, using a headset microphone and an array of microphones standing around the participant.

The corpus now contains data from about 850 interviews from 282 unique students. Each interview contains about 20 minutes of speech. The speech corpus is augmented with participants’ responses from entry and exit questionnaires, and supplementary data about the participants and about each recording. When finished in 2016, the total corpus will contain about 3 TB (about 3000 GB) of audio data.

The project has been funded by University College Utrecht, by the Utrecht institute of Linguistics OTS, and by Clarin-NL.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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