The Lampeter project was initiated in 1991 by Prof. Dr. Josef Schmied and Eva Hertel at Bayreuth University and moved with them to Chemnitz in 1993. It has been funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the German Research Association, since 1994. Travel grants made available by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), the German Academic Exchange Service, have made possible research collaboration with the English Department at Helsinki University and the Department of Linguistics & Modern English Language at Lancaster University (Gerald Knowles, Tony McEnery and Andrew Wilson) on questions of corpus compilation and annotation. The current compilers are Claudia Claridge and Rainer Siemund, both of them linguists with an accompanying major in history. They are currently working on their PhDs on multi-word verbs and modality in Early Modern English.
During his stay as a visiting professor at the University of Wales, Lampeter in 1991, Prof. Schmied learned of the vast resources available in the University's Founders' Library and worked out an arrangement with the library staff for their collaboration in the building of a corpus of Early Modern English. The main objective of the project was to fill a gap in the market of historical corpora, which lacked a balanced corpus with complete texts for text-linguistic and stylistic analysis. The time-span selected for the corpus was 1640 to 1740, as this appeared to be a highly interesting one in terms of both language change and historical developments during the period.
The corpus mirrors a century that was crucial in the standardisation process of the Mother Tongue as we know it today, and provides a stretch of time long enough to permit investigations into questions of language change in progress by giving a voice to three generations of speakers, or rather writers of English.
The beginning of the English Civil War in 1642 marked the beginning of a new era in English history, one which was to create new power structures in society, the economy, politics and religion. The battles during these and later times were fought not only with arms but also with words, and the sharpest weapons used in the battlegrounds of public opinion were the contemporary tracts and pamphlets.
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