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Research using the BASE Corpus

The British Academic Spoken English (BASE) corpus is a record of the speech of university lectures and students at the turnof the 21st century. The corpus consists of 160 lectures and 39 seminars recorded in a variety of university departments. It contains 1,644,942 tokens in total (lectures and seminars). Holdings are distributed across four broad disciplinary groups, each represented by 40 lectures and 10 seminars. These groups are:
  • Arts and Humanities 
  • Life Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Social Sciences

The corpus provides opportunities for research into many aspects of academic speech. You are welcome to refer to it in your own research at any level of study, provided you accept our conditionsand use the approved form of acknowledgement

The BASE corpus is freely available via the Oxford Text Archive (resource number 2525) and can also be interrogated online, using the Sketch Engine open access interface.




  • Zare, J. & Keivanloo-Shahrestanaki, Z. (2017). Genre awareness and academic lecture comprehension: The impact of teaching importance markers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 27, 31-41.
  • Zare, J. & Keivanloo-Shahrestanaki, Z.  (2017). The language of English academic lectures: The case of field of study in highlighting importance. Lingua, 193 36—50.



  • Łyda, A. (2016) Precision (and accuracy) in academic written and spoken English:  An exercise in awareness–raising. In Gałajda, D., Zakrajewski, P. and, Pawlak, M. (eds.) Researching Second Language Learning and Teaching from a Psycholinguistic Perspective. Springer pp.201-222 


  • Flowerdew, J. & Forest, R. (2015) Signalling Nouns in English: A Corpus-Based Discourse Approach. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kashiha, H. (2015). Corpus-based study of lexical bundles in academic lectures across three disciplinary divisions. Unpublished PhD thesis. University Putra Malaysia.


  • Al Makoshi, M. (2014) Discourse markers and code-switching: Academic medical lectures in Saudi Arabia using English as the medium of instruction. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Birmingham.
  • Dang, T. N. Y. & Webb, S. (2014) The lexical profile of academic spoken English. English for Specific Purposes, 33 66–76.
  • Deroey, K. L. B. (2014). 'Anyway, the point I'm making is’: Lexicogrammatical relevance marking in lectures. In V. Lieven, K. Davidse, C. Gentens and D. Kimps (eds) Recent Advances in Corpus Linguistics: Developing and Exploiting Corpora. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi. 265-291.
  • Kashiha, H. & Chan, H. S. (2014) 'Structural Analysis of Lexical Bundles in University Lectures of Politics and Chemistry'. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature. 3 (1)
  • Kashiha, H. & Chan, H. S. (2014) 'Discourse functions of formulaic sequences in academic speech across two disciplines'. GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies. 14 (2) 15-27.
  • Kashiha, H., & Chan, S. H. (2014). Using multi-word units to take a stance in academic lectures. Journal of Language and Communication, 1(1), 31-40.


  • Deroey, K. L. B. (2013). Marking importance in lectures: Interactive and textual orientation. Applied Linguistics.
  • Deroey, K. L. B. (2013) Relevance marking in lectures; a corpus-based study. Unpublished PhD thesis. Ghent University.
  • Herrero-Zorita, C. (2013) A statistical study of the usage of no-negation. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Corpus Linguistics (CILC2013). Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 95 482 – 489.


  • Deroey, K. L. B., & Taverniers, M. (2012) 'Ignore that 'cause it's totally irrelevant': marking lesser relevance in lectures. Journal of Pragmatics.
  • Deroey, K. L. B., & Taverniers, M. (2012). Just remember this: Lexicogrammatical relevance markers in lectures. English for Specific Purposes, 31 (4) 221-233.
  • Nesi, H. (2012). Laughter in university lectures. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 11 (2) 79-89.
  • Nesi, H. & Basturkmen, H. (2012) Lexical bundles and discourse signalling in academic lectures. Reprinted in Biber, D. and Reppen, R. (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Corpus Linguistics Volume 1. London: Sage 287-306.
  • Wang, Y-C. (2012) An Exploration of Vocabulary Knowledge in English Short Talks- A Corpus-Driven Approach. International Journal of English Linguistics. 2 (4)
  • Wang, Y. (2012) Chinese students' perceptions of humour in British academic lectures. PhD thesis. Open University, UK.



  • Lin, C-Y (in press) Modifiers in BASE and MICASE: A matter of academic cultures or lecturing styles? English for Specific Purposes.
  • Lin, C-Y (2010) ‘. . . that’s actually sort of you know trying to get consultants in . . .’: Functions and multifunctionality of modifiers in academic lectures. Journal of Pragmatics 42 1173–1183.
  • Shaw, P., Irvine, A. Malmström, H. & Pecorari, D. (2010) Intertextual Episodes in Lectures: A Classification from the Perspective of Incidental Learning from ReadingHermes - Journal of Language and Communication Studies no. 45, 115-128.


  • Formentelli, M. (2009) Address strategies in a British academic setting. Pragmatics 19 (2) 179-196.
  • Malá, M. (2009) Participial adverbials in academic lectures: “What do you end up getting?”. In: Dontcheva-Navratilova, O. and Povolná, R. (eds) Coherence and Cohesion in Spoken and Written Discourse. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 46-59.


  • Low, G.D., Littlemore, J., & Koester, A. (2008). Metaphor use in three UK university lectures. Applied Linguistics 29(3), 428-455.
  • Nesi, H. (2008). Corpora & EAP. In: LSP: Interfacing Language with other Realms: Proceedings of the 6th Languages for Specific Purposes International Seminar,.Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.


  • Othman, Z. (2007) An exploratory study of discourse markers: their distribution, meanings and uses in a corpus of academic lectures. PhD thesis, University of Lancaster.


  • Endacott, N. (2006) Homogeneity and Heterogeneity in Academic Discourse: Tracking the Management of Intertextuality in Undergraduate Lectures. PhD thesis. University of Stirling.
  • Nesi, H. & Basturkmen, H. (2006) Lexical bundles and discourse signalling in academic lectures. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics (Special issue on Cohesion, M. Mahlberg and J. Flowerdew eds.) 11 (3) 147-168.
  • Thompson, P. (2006) Assessing the contribution of corpora to EAP practice. In: Z. Kantaridou, I. Papadopoulou & I. Mahili (eds) Motivation in Learning Language for Specific and Academic Purposes. Macedonia: University of Macedonia [CD ROM]
  • Thompson, P. (2006) A corpus perspective on the lexis of lectures, with a focus on Economics lectures. in Hyland, K. and Bondi, M. (eds) Academic Discourse Across Disciplines Bern: Peter Lang.
  • Wang, Y. (2006) The importance of being humorous: a study of humour in English university lectures within the BASE corpus. MA dissertation, University of Warwick.


  • Nesi, H. (2002) An English spoken academic word list. in Braasch, A. and Provlsen, C. (eds) Proceedings of the Tenth EURALEX International Congress. Copenhagen: Center for Sprogteknologi.


  • Alam, Z. (2001) Gender representation in academic lectures. MA dissertation, University of Warwick.
  • Nesi, H. (2001) A corpus based analysis of academic lectures across disciplines, in: Cotterill, J. and Ife, A. (eds) Language Across Boundaries, London: Continuum Press 201-218
  • Nesi, H (2001) EASE: a multimedia materials development project. In: Cameron, K. (ed) C.A.L.L. – The Challenge of Change. Exeter: Elm Bank Publications, 287-292.
  • Thompson, P. and Nesi, H. (2001) The British Academic Spoken English (BASE) Corpus Project. Language Teaching Research 5 (3) 263-264.


  • Endacott, N. (1999) An investigation and comparison of the origins, rhetorical purposes and linguistic realisations of “other voices” in academic lectures. MA dissertation, University of Warwick.

Conference Presentations


  • Deroey, K. Importance marking in lectures by native and non-native speakers. [Paper presented at Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 19-21 June 2014]
  • Deroey, K. Corpus-based materials design for EAP listening: the road less travelled, [Paper presented at the EAP and Corpora BALEAP PIM, Coventry University, UK, 21 June 2014]
  • Deroey, K. (2014) Confronting EAP textbooks with corpus evidence: the case of academic listening. [Paper presented at Corpus Linguistics, Lancaster University, 21-23 July 2014]


  • Deroey, K. (2013) How do lecturers convey what is (less) important information? [Paper presented at The English Language in Teaching in European Higher Education Conference. Copenhagen, Denmark, 19-21 April 2013]
  • Deroey, K. Anyway, the point I’m making is: relevance marking in lectures. [Paper presented at Corpus Linguistics Conference (CL2013) , Lancaster University, 23-27 July 2013]
  • Kopečková, R. & Gooch, S. Teaching prosody in EAP. [Workshop at the BALEAP Biennial Conference, University of Nottingham, 19–21 April 2013]
  • Tanguay, E. ‘We have to ask ourselves whether the icing is getting bigger or the cake is getting smaller’ {Paper presented at Language in a digital age: Be not afraid of digitality. 24th European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference and Workshop, 1-3 July 2013]


  • Deroey, K. L. B. Relevance markers in lectures. [Paper presented at the ICAME conference, Leuven (Belgium), 30 May - 3 June 2012]
  • Groom, N. and Mason, O. Corpus perspectives on turn-taking in university seminars. [Paper presented at the 45th Annual BAAL Conference, University of Southampton, 6-8 September 2012]
  • Wang, Y. Evaluation in humour in British academic lectures and how it is perceived by Chinese students. [Paper presented at the ELPHE seminar 7 March 2012]


  • Deroey, K. The important point is: highlighting information in lectures. [Paper presented at the Corpus Linguistics conference, Birmingham, 19-21 July 2011]
  • Deroey, K. The important point is: highlighting information in lectures. [Paper presented at the CERLIS conference, Bergamo University, 23-25 June 2011]
  • Deroey, K. “Ignore that 'cause it's totally irrelevant”: marking less important information in lectures. [Paper presented at the Biennial Conference of the British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes. Portsmouth, UK, 10-12 April 2011]
  • Groom, N. & Mason, O. Disciplinary differences in small‐group interactions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives on turn­‐taking in university seminars. [Paper presented at the Corpus Linguistics conference, Birmingham, 19-21 July 2011]


  • Deroey, K. 'The important point is...': highlighting information in lectures. [Paper presented at the Fifth IVACS International Conference ‘Connecting Corpus Linguistics’, 18-19 June 2010, Edinburgh, UK.]
  • Lin, CY. Modifiers in university lectures: A cross-cultrual study of BASE and MICASE. [Paper presented at the 43rd Annual BAAL Conference, Aberdeen University, 9-11 September 2010]



  • Basturkmen, H. Signalling the relationship between ideas in academic speaking [Paper presented at the 11th CLESOL Conference , Auckland, New Zealand, 2-4 October 2008]
  • Deroey, K. A qualitative corpus-based study of lecture functions [Paper presented at BAAL, Swansea, September 2008]


  • Lin, CY. The multiple functions of pragmatic force modifiers in academic lectures: a systemic functional approach[Paper presented at the 10th International Pragmatics Conference, Göteborg, 9-13 July 2007]
  • Lyda, A. Speaking of thinking. Verbs of thinking in spoken academic English. [Paper presented at KCTOS: Knowledge, Creativity and Transformations of Societies, Vienna, 6 - 9 December 2007]
  • Nesi, H. The function of laughter in university lectures [Paper presented at the 10th International Pragmatics Conference, Göteborg, 9-13 July 2007]


  • Nesi, H. The public and the personal in BASE and MICASE lectures: Some culture-specific features [paper presented at The Conference in Honour of John Swales, Michigan, USA, 22-23 June 2006]
  • Nesi, H. Creating search interfaces for BASE and BAWE: the design of a web-based interface [Paper presented at the BAAL/IRAAL Conference, 'From Applied Linguistics to Linguistics Applied: Issues, Practices, Trends’, University College Cork, 7-9 September 2006]
  • Thompson, P. They have their words yeah - the lexis of lectures [Paper presented at ESSE 8, London, August 2006]
  • Thompson, P. Telling the difference between Economics and Philosophy lectures [Paper presented at BALEAP PIM, Durham, 19 November 2006]


  • Thompson, P. BASE data: towards insights into spoken academic language [Keynote address at the 5th IVACS Annual Research Colloquium, Queen's University, Belfast, February 2005]
  • Thompson, P. and Nesi, H. What words should we teach?: A corpus-based perspective on the vocabulary of academic lectures [Paper presented at BALEAP, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, April 2005]
  • Thompson, P. Approaching the lexis of academic lectures [Paper presented at AILA, Madison, WI, USA 25-29 July 2005]
  • Thompson, P. The lexis of lectures across the disciplines [Paper presented at the LSP conference, Bergamo, Italy, August 2005]
  • Thompson, P. Re-viewing the Academic Word List: the language of lectures [Paper presented at BAAL, Bristol, September 2005]


  • Creer, S. and Thompson, P. Processing Spoken Language Data: The BASE Experience [Paper presented at a LREC Workshop on Compiling and Processing Spoken Language Corpora, 24th May 2004]


  • Alam, Z., Nesi, H. and Gardner, S. She feels, he finds: process type choice and the representation of men and women in a corpus of academic lectures [Paper presented at ISFC 29, Liverpool, 2002]
  • Nesi, H. BASE, BAWE and EASE: how insights from academic corpora have informed the design of an EAP series [Paper presented at IVACS, Limerick, 2002]
  • Nesi, H. And Thompson, P. Building BASE: an introduction to the British Academic Spoken English Corpus [Paper presented at TALC, Forli, Italy, 2002]


  • Preshous, A. Eliciting acts used in academic seminars [Paper presented at the BALEAP PIM, University of Warwick, 2001]


  • Choi, YH and Nesi, H. Sending out the right signals: enumeration as a predictive category in the BASE corpus[Paper presented at TALC 2000, Graz, Austria, 2000]
  • Endacott, N. Linguistic representations of 'other voices' in hard and soft undergraduate lectures [Paper presented at the BAAL Annual Conference, Cambridge, September 2000]