CASS Corpus Linguistics workshop at the University of Caxias do Sul (UCS, Brazil)

Last month at UCS (Brazil), the CASS Corpus Linguistics workshop found a receptive audience who participated actively and enthusiastically engaged in the discussion. The workshop was run from 27-28 May by CASS members Elena Semino, Vaclav Brezina and Carmen Dayrell, and perfectly organised by the local committee Heloísa Feltes and Ana Pelosi.


From left to right: Carmen Dayrell, Heloísa Feltes, Vaclav Brezina, Elena Semino, and Ana Pelosi

This workshop brought together lecturers, researchers, PhDs and MA research students from various Brazilian universities. It was a positive, invigorating experience for the CASS team and a golden opportunity to discuss the various applications of corpus linguistics methods. We would like to thank UCS for offering all necessary conditions to make this workshop run so smoothly.

The workshop was part of a collaborative project between UK and Brazilian scholars funded by the UK’s ESRC and the Brazilian research agency CONFAP (FAPERGS) which will make use of corpus linguistics techniques to investigate the linguistic representation of urban violence in Brazil. Further details of this project can be found at

Big data media analysis and the representation of urban violence in Brazil: Kick-off meeting


The first meeting of the project took place earlier this month at CASS, Lancaster. This kick-off meeting brought together the Brazilian researchers Professors Heloísa Pedroso de Moraes Feltes (UCS) and Ana Cristina Pelosi (UNISC/UFC) and the CASS team (Professors Elena Semino and Tony McEnery, and Dr Carmen Dayrell) to plan the project’s activities and discuss the next steps.

The meeting was an excellent opportunity to discuss the partners’ role and activities in the project and to clarify how CASS can provide the Brazilian researchers with the expertise needed in a corpus investigation. A key decision towards this goal was to run a two-day Workshop in Corpus Linguistics in Brazil. This will be run by the CASS team (also counting with the expertise of Dr Vaclav Brezina) in the last week of May.

The workshop aims to reach a wider audience and not only to the Brazilian researchers’ team. It will be open to their colleagues, graduate and undergraduate students, and anyone interested in learning and using corpus linguistics methods and tools in the research.

We are all looking forward to that!

New working paper on “Changing Climate and Society: The Surprising Case of Brazil” now available

Why is Brazil unique when it comes to climate change? Brazil is a major emerging economy and it is the sixth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. However, its fossil fuel-based emissions are low by global standards. Brazil has been innovative in developing some relevant low carbon ways of generating energy and pioneered significant transport innovations. It has also played a major role in international debates on global warming and Brazilians’ degree of concern about global warming is higher than almost anywhere else. Brazil has the largest reserve of agricultural land in the world and it houses most of the Amazon forest and river basin.

climatechangeworkingThis working paper examines the interesting case of Brazil, offering a general overview of the centrality of Brazil within climate policy and politics.

Download and read the complimentary working paper now.

Changing Climates: Crossing Boundaries

Last Friday (28th), CASS had the pleasure to host a cordial meeting in which researchers from CASS and the University of Bergen got together to discuss about their ongoing research on discourses surrounding climate change.

The Norwegian team runs the NTAP project (Networks of Texts and People) which aims to explore the flow of information across online social networks with a view to understanding how knowledge develops and how opinion is shaped. Among other topics, the project examines the dynamics of discussions in the blogosphere around the various issues related to climate change.

Dag Elgesem and Andrew Salway – the principal investigator and scientific co-ordinator of the NTAP project respectively – provided an overview of the main goals of the project, state of affairs, expectations and their next steps. The Technical consultant and programmer for the project, Knut Hofland, talked about the data and the process of collecting it, describing various issues and decisions made along this process. Lubos Steskal, the project’s post-doctoral fellow, presented an interesting graphical representation of bloggers’ interactions which offers the researcher a clear indication about how communities are formed as well as whether and how they interact with each other. Samia Touileb presented a sample of her ongoing PhD project which uses grammar induction techniques to capture typical expressions used in blogs that discuss climate change.

Tony McEnery and Carmen Dayrell represented the CASS centre. Tony McEnery first provided a general broad view of the centre’s activities and staff by briefly mentioning its various projects. He also talked about some techniques commonly used in corpus-based discourse analysis to extract and manipulate the data. As expected, more attention was paid to the Changing Climates project. Having the climate change sociologist John Urry as its principal investigator, the project aims to contrast how climate change is discussed in news printed media in Britain and Brazil. Carmen Dayrell presented the current stage of the project. Her talk revolved around the composition of the corpora used in this study and a preliminary analysis of the data.

This was an excellent opportunity for these researchers to exchange ideas and experiences, expand horizons and learn about other approaches, perspectives, and views. We hope this first meeting will encourage and foster fruitful enhanced collaboration between these research teams.

Welcoming new CASS Senior Research Associate: Carmen Dayrell

We are pleased to announce that Dr Carmen Dayrell (c.dayrell(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) has joined the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science as the Senior Research Associate on the Changing Climates project. You can read a bit more about her in her own words, below.

My main research interests relate to the use of corpus methodologies to study language production, from various perspectives and in different settings.

I was first interested in the distinctive features of translated language and carried out a corpus study to investigate potential differences (and similarities) between collocational patterns in translated and non-translated texts of the same language. The main issue under my investigation was whether collocational patterns tend to be less diverse (i.e. reduced in range) in translations when compared to texts originally written in the language in question.

I then turned my attention to English academic writing and examined lexical and syntactical features of abstracts written in English by Brazilian graduate students, hence native speakers of Portuguese, from various disciplines. My primary goal was to provide insights for the development and improvement of teaching material that can directly target the specific needs of Brazilian novice researchers. This research project involved comparing the textual patterns used by students vis-à-vis those in abstracts taken from published papers from the same disciplines.

My current research focuses on the discourse of climate change in media coverage. This is part of a larger project which aims to conduct a large-scale, systematic empirical analysis of climate change discourse across Britain and Brazil. Our primary purpose is to investigate how the issue has been framed in these two countries in the past decade.


  • PhD in Translation Studies, CTIS – The University of Manchester (UK)
  • MA in Applied Linguistics, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG,Brazil)
  • BA in Business Administration and Accountancy, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais (PUC-MG, Brazil)

Selected Publications

DAYRELL, C. (2011a) ‘Corpora and academic English teaching: lexico-grammatical patterns in abstracts written by Brazilian graduate students’. Vander Viana and Stella Tagnin (Eds.) Corpora in Foreign Language Teaching. São Paulo: HUB Editorial, pp. 137-172. (in Portuguese)

DAYRELL, C. (2011b) ‘Anticipatory ‘it’ in English abstracts: a corpus-based study of non-native student and published writing’. Stanisław Goźdź-Roszkowski (Ed.) Explorations across Languages and Corpora. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 581-598.

DAYRELL, C. (2010) ‘Frequency and lexico-grammatical patterns of sense-related verbs in English and Portuguese abstracts’. Richard Xiao (ed.) Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 486-507.

DAYRELL, C. (2009) ‘Sense-related verbs in English scientific abstracts: a corpus-based study of students’ writing’. ESP Across Cultures 6: 61-78.

DAYRELL, C. (2008) ‘Investigating the preference of translators for recurrent lexical patterns: a corpus-based study’. Juliane House (ed.) Beyond Intervention: Universals in Translation?, TRANSKOM, First and Special Issue of TRANSKOM (1). Available at

DAYRELL, C. (2007) ‘A quantitative approach to investigate collocations in translated texts’. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 12(3): 415-444.