A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760 (CED) [1]

The CED was compiled as a tool for the study of the language of the Early Modern period; the focus was placed on dialogues because interactive face-to-face communication is known to be an important factor in language change. The corpus was designed to offer easy access to a substantial quantity of data for variationist studies and research into historical pragmatics, as well as the study of speech presentation: it was compiled with particular variables in mind, such as text type, time, gender, and social rank. As the CED focuses on spoken interaction in the past, it facilitates the study of topics such as politeness phenomena, and conversational structure. The CED also includes various modes of speech presentation, e.g. direct and indirect speech, making the material of especial value to those investigating how speech is presented in writing.

The CED is part of the research project "Exploring spoken interaction of the Early Modern English period (1560–1760)".

Main compilers: Merja Kytö and Jonathan Culpeper
Time of compilation: 1996–2006
Size: 1,2 million words (1,183,690)
Language: Early Modern English
Number of texts/samples: 177 text files
Period: 1560–1760
Released: 2006
Funding: Swedish Research Council/Vetenskapsrådet, the English Department at Uppsala University, the Arts and Humanities Research Board, U.K., and the British Academy
Project home page: http://www.engelska.uu.se/Research/English_Language/Research_Areas/Electronic_Resource_Projects/A_Corpus_of_English_Dialogues/

Reference lines and copyright

A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760. 2006. Compiled under the supervision of Merja Kytö (Uppsala University) and Jonathan Culpeper (Lancaster University).


Kytö, Merja and Terry Walker. 2006. Guide to A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760 (Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia 130). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.


Merja Kytö (Uppsala University) and Jonathan Culpeper (Lancaster University) in collaboration with Terry Walker and Dawn Archer

File format

The CED is available in two formats: plain text and XML. Both the plain text and the XML versions comprise 177 individual text files.


Oxford Text Archive and the forthcoming ICAME CD-ROM

For more information

Culpeper, Jonathan and Merja Kytö. 1997. Towards a corpus of dialogues, 1550-1750. In Heinrich Ramisch and Kenneth Wynne (eds.). Language in Time and Space. Studies in Honour of Wolfgang Viereck on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday (Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik - Beihefte, Heft 97), 60-73. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Culpeper, Jonathan and Merja Kytö. 2000. Data in historical pragmatics: Spoken interaction (re)cast as writing. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 1 (2): 175-199.

Culpeper, Jonathan and Merja Kytö. Forthcoming. Early Modern English Dialogues: Spoken Interaction as Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


[1] The information on this and the ensuing web pages follows Culpeper and Kytö (Forthcoming), the Guide to the CED and the corpus homepage.