The Eighteenth-Century English Phonology Database (ECEP)

ECEP is an online database designed for the study of eighteenth-century English phonology, which allows users to investigate the social, regional and lexical distribution of phonological variants in eighteenth-century English. It serves as a source bank for quantitative and qualitative studies, thereby meeting the demands of the growing research community in historical phonology and dialectology in particular (e.g. Honeybone & Salmons 2015) and in Late Modern English in general (e.g. Mugglestone 2003, Hickey 2010).

The database incorporates data in the form of IPA transcriptions from eleven pronouncing dictionaries published in the second half of the eighteenth century. We have annotated as many of the 1,737 individual example words used to exemplify John C. Wells’ (1982) Standard Lexical Sets of vowel variants as can be found in the selected sources, to which we have added five supplementary sets of consonant variants (204 individual example words).

Project members: Joan C. Beal (PI), Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, Ranjan Sen, Christine Wallis (RA)
Time of compilation: 2014–2015
Language: English
Number of texts/samples: 11 dictionaries, ca. 1,600 example words each (ca. 17,600 example words in total)
Period: 1750–1800
Released: 2016
Funding: British Academy / Leverhulme Trust (SG132806); Santander Research Mobility Award (2012/13, 2014/15)
Database access:
Project home page:

Reference line and copyright

ECEP = Eighteenth-Century English Phonology database, 2015. Compiled by Joan C. Beal, Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, Ranjan Sen, and Christine Wallis. The University of Sheffield and Universidade de Vigo. Published by: University of Sheffield.


Prof. Joan C. Beal (University Sheffield)
Dr Nuria Yáñez-Bouza (Universidade de Vigo)
Dr Ranjan Sen (University Sheffield)

Research assistant: Dr Christine Wallis (University Sheffield, July–October 2014)

Technical support: Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield. Michael Pidd (Digital Director) and Ryan Bloor (Developer).


ECEP is freely available online via the Humanities Research Institute, Digital Humanities, University of Sheffield.

Project website:

ECEP access:


The compilers would like to acknowledge financial support from the British Academy / Leverhulme Trust (SG–132806) and the Santander Research Mobility Scheme (calls 2012–13 and 2014–15). We are also grateful to the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield for technical support, in particular Michael Pidd (Digital Director) and Ryan Bloor (Developer). Nuria Yáñez-Bouza would like to thank the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Ramón y Cajal Scheme (RYC-2011-07863) and the research group Language Variation and Textual Categorization at the Universidade de Vigo (the European Regional Development Fund FFI2013-44065-P; the Autonomous Government of Galicia GPC2014/060).