The pragmatic annotation of a corpus of academic lectures

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This paper will describe a process of ‘pragmatic annotation’ (c.f. Simpson-Vlach and Leicher 2006) which systematically identifies pragmatic meaning in spoken text. The annotation of stretches of text that perform particular pragmatic functions allows conclusions to be drawn across data sets at a different level than that of the individual lexical item, or structural content. The annotation of linguistic features, which cannot be identified by purely objective means, is distinguished here from structural mark-up of speaker identity, turns, pauses etc. The features annotated are ‘explaining’, ‘housekeeping’, ‘humour’, ‘storytelling’ and ‘summarising’. Twenty-two subcategories are attributed to these elements. Data is from the Engineering Lecture Corpus (ELC), which includes 76 English-medium engineering lectures from the UK, New Zealand and Malaysia. The annotation allows us to compare differences in the use of these discourse features across cultural subcorpora. Results show that cultural context does impact on the linguistic realisation of commonly occurring discourse features in engineering lectures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLREC 2014, Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation
EditorsNicoletta Calzolari, Khalid Choukri, Thierry Declerck, Hrafn Loftsson, Bente Maegaard, Joesph Mariani, Asuncion Moreno, Jan Odijk, Slelios Piperidis
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventNinth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 26 May 201431 May 2014


ConferenceNinth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation
Abbreviated titleLREC 2014

Bibliographical note

The LREC 2014 Proceedings are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License .


  • pragmatic annotation
  • lecture
  • engineering


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