The UC QuakeBox Project: Creation of a community-focused research archive

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Walsh, Liam
Hay, Jen
Bent, Derek
King, Jeanette
Millar, Paul
Papp, Viktoria
Watson, Kevin

The University of Canterbury is known internationally for the Origins of New Zealand English (ONZE) corpus (see Gordon et al 2004). ONZE is a large collection of recordings from people born between 1851 and 1984, and it has been widely utilised for linguistic and sociolinguistic research on New Zealand English. The ONZE data is varied. The recordings from the Mobile Unit (MU) are interviews and were collected by members of the NZ Broadcasting service shortly after the Second World War, with the aim of recording stories from New Zealanders outside the main city centres. These were supplemented by interview recordings carried out mainly in the 1990s and now contained in the Intermediate Archive (IA). The final ONZE collection, the Canterbury Corpus, is a set of interviews and word-list recordings carried out by students at the University of Canterbury. Across the ONZE corpora, there are different interviewers, different interview styles and a myriad of different topics discussed. In this paper, we introduce a new corpus – the QuakeBox – where these contexts are much more consistent and comparable across speakers. The QuakeBox is a corpus which consists largely of audio and video recordings of monologues about the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes. As such, it represents Canterbury speakers’ very recent ‘danger of death’ experiences (see Labov 2013). In this paper, we outline the creation and structure of the corpus, including the practical issues involved in storing the data and gaining speakers’ informed consent for their audio and video data to be included.

Walsh, L., Hay, J., Bent, D., Grant, L., King, J., Millar, P. & Watson, K. (2013). The UC QuakeBox Project: Creation of a community-focused research archive. New Zealand English Journal, 27, 20-32.
New Zealand English, QuakeBox, sociolinguistics
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