Advantages and Disadvantages

Online dictionary and encyclopedia sources offer great convenience and quick access to the information you need. These references are at their finest when they go beyond the capabilities of print, such as when they allow users to take advantage of multimedia content. You can hear famous speeches, see scans of historical documents and view helpful diagrams and charts with just a few clicks.

Many free online encyclopedias stem from collaborative efforts such as Wikipedia or compilations of FAQs. Sometimes this leads to greater accuracy as experts weigh in on their specialties, but these sites are just as likely to be overtaken with propaganda, spam and incorrect information. The best Wikis have safeguards against their misuse, but you should still be careful when using such sites as an authoritative source, and double check you data as much as possible.


Resource: (2009, June 8). From, Online. Retrieved 21:05, June 8, 2009, from:



Dictionary with pen



Received Pronunciation, or RP for short, is the instantly recognisable accent often described as ‘typically British’. Popular terms for this accent, such as ‘The Queen’s English’, ‘Oxford English’ or ‘BBC English’ are all a little misleading. The Queen, for instance, speaks an almost unique form of English, while the English we hear at Oxford University or on the BBC is no longer restricted to one type of accent.

RP is an accent, not a dialect, since all RP speakers speak Standard English. In other words, they avoid non-standard grammatical constructions and localised vocabulary characteristic of regional dialects. RP is also regionally non-specific, that is it does not contain any clues about a speaker’s geographic background. But it does reveal a great deal about their social and/or educational background.

Resource: British Library. In British Library, BL,  ( 2009, June 6). Retrieved  18:40,  May 6, 2009, from:


BBC news,

Queen Elisabeth,

The International Corpus of English (ICE) project was initiated in 1988 by the late Sidney Greenbaum, the then Director of the Survey of English Usage, University College London. In a brief notice in World Englishes, Greenbaum pointed out that grammatical studies had been greatly facilitated by the availability of two computerized corpora of printed English, the Brown Corpus of American English, and the LOB (Lancaster/Oslo-Bergen) Corpus of British English. Greenbaum continued:

We should now be thinking of extending the scope for computerized comparative studies in three ways: (1) to sample standard varieties from other countries where English is the first language, for example Canada and Australia; (2) to sample national varieties from countries where English is an official additional language, for example India and Nigeria; and (3) to include spoken and manuscript English as well as printed English. (Greenbaum 1988)

In response, linguists from around the world came forward to discuss Greenbaum’s proposal, and ultimately to put it into effect (Greenbaum 1991). The project soon became known as the International Corpus of English (ICE), and was coordinated by Greenbaum until 1996. From 1996 to 2001, ICE was coordinated by Charles Meyer, University of Massachusetts-Boston. It is now coordinated by Gerald Nelson in Hong Kong. The ICE project involves research teams in each of the countries or regions shown below.

East Africa (Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania)
Great Britain
Hong Kong

New Zealand
Sierra Leone 
South Africa 
Sri Lanka 
Trinidad and Tobago 

Each ICE team is compiling – or has already compiled – a one million-word corpus of their own national or regional variety of English. Crucially, each team follows a common corpus design and a common annotation scheme, in order to ensure maximum comparability between the components (Nelson 1996). The long-term aim of ICE is to produce up to twenty one million-word corpora, each syntactically analysed according to a common parsing scheme, and supplied with the retrieval software, ICECUP.

Each ICE corpus samples the English of adults (age 18 or over) who have been educated through the medium of English to at least the end of secondary schooling. Furthermore, each component corpus is grammatically analysed using a common grammatical annotation scheme.

resource: The International Corpus of English (2009, June 6).In The International Corpus of English (ICE). Retrieved, 17:24, June 6, 2009, from:  

1) Apartment = Flat

2) Appetizer = Starter

3) Apron = Pinny

4) Argument = Row

5) Baby carriage = Pram

6) Backyard = Garden

9) Baked Potato = Jacket Potato

10) Band-aid = Plaster

11) Baseball = Rounders

12) Bath Robe = Dressing Gown

13) Bathing Suit = Swimming Costume / Cozzy

14) Bathroom = Toilet

15) Bathroom = Loo

16) Bathroom = WC

18) Can = Tin

19) Candy = Sweets

20) Check = Bill (at Restaurant)

21) Chips = Crisps

23) Elevator = Lift

24) Eraser = Rubber

25) Fall = Autumn

26) Faucet = Tap

27) Fill the Tub = Run the Bath

28) Fire truck = Fire Engine

29) Flapjacks = Scotch Pancakes

30) Flashlight = Torch



Resource:Associated Content (2009, May 29) In Associated Content, AC. Retrieved 20:25, May 29, 2009, from:  

The American National Corpus (ANC) project is creating a massive electronic collection of American English, including texts of all genres and transcripts of spoken data produced from 1990 onward. The ANC will provide the most comprehensive picture of American English ever created, and will serve as a resource for education, linguistic and lexicographic research, and technology development.

When completed, the ANC will contain a core corpus of at least 100 million words, comparable across genres to the British National Corpus (BNC). The corpus will also include an “opportunistic” component of potentially several hundreds of millions of words, chosen to provide both the broadest and largest selection of texts (and, where available, annotations) possible.

resource: American National Corpus. (2009, May 5). In American National Corpus, ANC. Retrieved 12:21, May 5, 2009, from


What are tags?

Tags are one-word descriptors that you can assign to your bookmarks on Delicious to help you organize and remember them. Tags are a little bit like keywords, but you choose them yourself and they do not form a hierarchy. You can assign as many tags to a bookmark as you like and you can always rename or delete the tags later. So, tagging can be a lot easier and more flexible than fitting your information into preconceived categories or folders.

For example, if you save an article about how to make a certain kind of cake, you can tag it with recipes sweets yogurt or whatever other tags you might use to find it again. You don’t have to rely on the designer of a system to provide you with a category for French cake recipes. You make up tags as you need them, and use the tags that make the most sense to you.

This is great for organizing and finding personal data, but it goes even further when someone else posts related content using the same tags. You begin building a collaborative repository of related information, driven by personal interests and creative organization. 

What are some examples of tagging?

You can use tags describing an article or website’s subject, location, name, category, people, places, ideas — pretty much anything you can think of. The more tags the better! (Most people end up adding two to five tags to each of their bookmarks.)

The only limitation on tags is that they must not include spaces. So if your web page is about a two-word place like “San Francisco”, you may want to tag it as sf, san-francisco, SanFrancisco, san.francisco, or whatever else makes sense to you. You don’t want to use commas, though, since a comma will be become part of the tag. You can also use tags to describe metadata about the bookmark. For example, you can use asterisks to rate bookmarks. So a tag of * might mean an OK link, *** is pretty good, and a bookmark tagged ***** is awesome. Other common tags include toread, or via:friend. Bookmarks that you want can be tagged wishlist, and ones that might not be safe to visit at work can be tagged nsfw. A tag can be anything you want.


What is the BNC?

The British National Corpus (BNC) is a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent a wide cross-section of British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written. The latest edition is the BNC XML Edition, released in 2007.

What sort of corpus is the BNC?

Monolingual: It deals with modern British English, not other languages used in Britain. However non-British English and foreign language words do occur in the corpus.

Synchronic: It covers British English of the late twentieth century, rather than the historical development which produced it.

General: It includes many different styles and varieties, and is not limited to any particular subject field, genre or register. In particular, it contains examples of both spoken and written language.

Sample: For written sources, samples of 45,000 words are taken from various parts of single-author texts. Shorter texts up to a maximum of 45,000 words, or multi-author texts such as magazines and newspapers, are included in full. Sampling allows for a wider coverage of texts within the 100 million limit, and avoids over-representing idiosyncratic texts.

Sources: NTB:  British National Corpus (BNC). (2009, April 4). In BNC, British National Corpus. Retrieved 09:27, April 15, 2009, from