The Aston Corpus of West Midlands English

ACWME comprises a database of  sound recordings made from across the West Midlands region of locally based performances – comedy, drama, poetry and song – and related interviews with the performers, members of the audience and local and national celebrities associated with the region.Recordings were undertaken between 2009 and 2012 in Birmingham, the Black Country, Shropshire, Staffordshire,  Warwickshire and Worcestershire as part of Leverhulme Trust and UK Economic and Social Science Research funding into the relationship between language, performance and region and sociocultural identity in the West Midlands region of the UK.

At least two performances were recorded within each of the six regions, accompanied by interviews with performers talking about their work and  the use of dialect in their work and, wherever possible, interviews with audience members about the ways in which their region was being represented in performance. Additional  performances were also recorded  in Birmingham by  ethnic minority performers. Celebrities associated with the regions, both local and national, were also interviewed.

The data collected for these projects has   been made available for research purposes via the academic download section of this website. It  is organised into  folders corresponding to each of the sub regions: Birmingham, the Black Country, Shropshire, Staffordshire and  Warwickshire. Each folder contains two unedited sound recordings of performances  with accompanying  transcriptions using EXMARaLDA software and contextual notes. In addition,each folder contains conextual notes,   a varying number of recordings related to performer, audience and celebrity interviews and, in some cases, further performance recordings.

An accompanying website, The West Midlands English: Speech and Society website,  is  linked to this project. It provides learning and teaching resources for students of English language A Level and first and second year university undergraduates studying linguistic variation.