VARIENG stands for the Research Unit for the Study of Variation, Contacts and Change in English. It also stands for innovative thinking and team work in English corpus linguistics and the study of language variation and change. VARIENG members study the English language, its uses and users, both today and in the past. We are interested in how language is situated in social, cognitive, textual and discourse contexts, and produced in speaker interaction; how language varies and changes in meaning and structure; and how change is connected with language typology.
The VARIENG Research Unit was founded by linguists and philologists in the Department of English, University of Helsinki, in 1995. The Academy of Finland appointed VARIENG as a Finnish Centre of Excellence for a six-year term from 2000 to 2005, and again from 2006 to 2011. Today VARIENG continues as a vibrant research community in the new Department of Modern Languages. In May 2012, we were acknowledged in the research evaluation of the University of Helsinki as one of the University's international cutting-edge research communities.
VARIENG members have a long history in developing tools and resources for research in their field, beginning with the Helsinki Corpus project in the 1980s. The most recent addition to the Helsinki corpus family is the publication of a TEI compliant XML-version of the Helsinki Corpus of English Texts in 2011, twenty years on from the release of the original version in 1991. Besides a wide variety of digital corpora, VARIENG resources include the Corpus Resource Database (CoRD) and the open-access publication, Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English. Currently, VARIENG members team up in projects ranging from multimedia corpora and the material contexts of written and printed sources to the use of visualization and data-mining tools in corpus linguistics. Most of the projects are carried out in collaboration with colleagues from around the world.