[Corpora-List] The genre of the Web

Mark Davies Mark_Davies at byu.edu
Thu Sep 22 22:59:00 CEST 2005

Hi Marina,

> Maybe you should start with something like "the language and

> the internet" by Crystal and related references,

> such as "The Language of Websites" by M. Boardman, Routledge 2004 etc.

Although both of these books are quite interesting, I guess I was looking for something a bit more quantitative.

> If you are interested in web registers, send me an email and I will

> send you a preliminary study that D. Biber carried out on Yahoo

> categories last year. . . . .

Yes, the work by Biber is very relevant. He and I have discussed this study (as well as some of his upcoming work on this topic as well), and it is precisely this type of work that I am interested in -- quantitative relationships between web-based data and data from other corpora.

> But I am wondering: are you interested in "web registers" or in

> "web genres" or ...? These terms are not sheer synonyms even

> if sometimes they are used interchangeably. . . .

> If you are interested in genres on the Web, have a look at: . . . .

> If you are interested in web registers . . . . .

At least in a "Biberian" sense, "web registers" and "web genres" probably are synonyms -- as are the terms "register" and "genre" generally in many of his other publications (cf. the Longman grammar, among others). I know this differs somewhat from David Lee's (and others') use of the terms "registers" and "genres".

> I am sure you know the BNC Web Indexer

> (http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/computing/research/ucrel/bncindex/form.html)

> where BNC documents can be selected according to many categories).

Yes, all of this information is in a database on my BNC/VIEW site (http://view.byu.edu), where one can search the BNC by genre/register (rather than just getting a list of the matching text files).

> If you are interested in genres on the Web, have a look at:

> Crowston K., Williams M. (1997),

> Shepherd M. And Watters C. (1998)

> Shepherd M. And Watters C. (1999)

Good references -- thanks.

Thanks also to the others that have sent references to projects dealing with quantitative approaches to web registers/genres. As I've mentioned, to the degree that use of web-based data becomes part of our research, I think that it is valuable to have some sense of what this web-based data actually represent, in terms of similarity to pre-existing genres/registers. My sense is that there is still quite a bit to be done in this field.


Mark Davies

Mark Davies
Assoc. Prof., Linguistics
Brigham Young University
(phone) 801-422-9168 / (fax) 801-422-0906

** Corpus design and use // Linguistic databases **
** Historical linguistics // Language variation **
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