Contact Information

English Philology belongs to the Department of Modern Languages.

P.O. Box 24 (Unioninkatu 40 B)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Research and postgraduate studies > Introduction to VARIENG

For, though the origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was at first a stroke of genius, and obtained currency, because for the moment it symbolized the world to the first speaker and to the hearer. — R.W. Emerson

VARIENG is a research unit attached to English Philology. It served as a National Centre of Excellence for two six-year terms between 2000 and 2011.

VARIENG is internationally recognized for the innovative work done by its researchers on the history of English and corpus linguistics and for the digital corpora they have developed. The best known of these structured text collections is the Helsinki Corpus of English Texts, which is used widely all over the world. Apart from designing corpora, VARIENG members produce, among other things, digital editions of early English manuscripts.

Focusing on variation and change in English, VARIENG researchers contribute to the fields of historical sociolinguistics, historical pragmatics, regional varieties of English, evolution of the language of science as well as to modelling processes of language change.

The most recent projects concentrate on the Dynamics of Change in Language Practices and Social Meaning (1700-1900), Language of Evaluation: Constructing the Social Margins in England (1650–1900), and Reassessing Language Change: the Challenge of Real Time.

VARIENG members produce annually about 40 scholarly publications ranging from research articles to monographs and edited volumes. The unit also publishes an open-access e-series since 2007. VARIENG researchers present their research at international conferences, give guest lectures and undertake various expert duties both at home and abroad. Every year VARIENG hosts a number of international visits both by fellow researchers and exchange students.

Contact information

Director: Professor Terttu Nevalainen
Phone: +358 (0)2 941 24742
Visiting address: Unioninkatu 40, 6th floor
Mailing address: P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

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