Corpus of Scottish Correspondence (CSC)

The Corpus of Scottish Correspondence is the first manuscript-based and lexico-grammatically tagged digital database of early Scottish epistolary prose texts. The database is theoretically and methodologically innovative, in the sense that it provides alternative tagging systems representing different degrees of elaboration and indicates features of the visual prosody of the manuscript originals. The general approach to linguistic data is thoroughly variationist, with a high degree of idiolectal, local and regional variation fully recorded in the diplomatically transcribed and digitized texts of the corpus. Auxiliary information about language-external variables related to the texts and their authors and addressees will permit the use of the corpus for historical dialectology and historical sociolinguistics in particular.

Project leader: Anneli Meurman-Solin, University of Helsinki
Time of compilation: 2000–2007
Size: 256,300 words
Language:Scottish English
Number of informants: 169 male, 56 female
Number of letters: 719; 558 by male writers, 160 by female writers
Period: 1500–1715
Released: 2007
Funding: 2000–2007: University of Helsinki, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English
Project home page:

Reference lines and copyright

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 2007. CSC The Corpus of Scottish Correspondence, 1500–1715.

Texts transcribed from documents in GD38 and GD205, kept at the National Archives of Scotland, have been made available online by the kind permission of Laurence Blair Oliphant and the trustees of Sir David Ogilvy of Inverquharity respectively.


Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 2007. Manual to the Corpus of Scottish Correspondence. Helsinki. Available at


Anneli Meurman-Solin


Dr Keith Williamson

Collaborating researchers

Elina Sorva († 2006), Keith Williamson (University of Edinburgh), Margaret Laing (University of Edinburgh), Roger Lass (Universities of Capetown and Edinburgh)

Research assistants

Eeva Hohti, Jenni Laitinen, Saara Paatero-Burtsov (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies)

Johanna Lahti, Ulla Paatola, Riikka Tuomi, Turo Vartiainen, Minna Åkerman (Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English, Department of English)


The 2007 version of the CSC corpus has been considerably expanded and the new corpus will be made available in 2014.

For more information

See the Manual to the Corpus of Scottish Correspondence: Multidimensionality, flexibility, and transparency

For more information on diatopic representativeness and the conceptualisation of space and spatiality in historical dialectology and historical sociolinguistics, see:

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. Forthcoming. ‘Early Modern English Dialects’ in Historical Linguistics of English: An International Handbook, vol. 2, edited by Laurel Brinton. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. Forthcoming. ‘Space as a Variable in Historical Sociolinguistics’ in The Handbook of Historical Sociolinguistics, edited by Juan Manuel Hernández-Campoy. Oxford: Blackwell.