Doctoral workshop: Big data and bad data (2-3 September 2016)

Organisers: Tino Oudesluijs (Lausanne)Moragh Gordon (Utrecht)Anita Auer (Lausanne)

The workshop will focus on the empirical basis of linguistic research, particularly on quantitative and qualitative research methods based on empirical data, including the challenges, advantages, shortcomings, complementary value, etc. of a variety of methods for the (theoretical) interpretation of the data. Selected questions that will be addressed during this workshop are as follows:

1. How have recent developments in digital humanities (e.g. large scale digitization of hitherto unknown manuscript material (diachronic) or social media data (synchronic)) affected the way in which we approach data from a linguistic perspective? More specifically, do these developments introduce bad data challenges and/or resolve existing bad data problems?

2. How and in what way could the ‘Big Data’ approach have an effect on our interpretations of language variation and change, and also the role of language standards?

3. What impact will the latter approach have on existing theoretical frameworks? For instance, will it lead to revisions of frameworks such as the social network theory and community of practice, which are used to interpret historical and contemporary data?

This workshop is primarily aimed at postgraduate students working in the field of language variation and change (past and present) of any language, but it may be of interest to doctoral students in other fields of linguistics as well.

The plenary speakers are Prof. Susan Fitzmaurice (University of Sheffield), Prof. Alexander Bergs (University of Osnabrück) and Prof. Daniel Schreier (University of Zürich).


The workshop will be held in room 414 (top floor) in the Amphimax building at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland).

Registration and submission of abstracts is possible until 15 June 2016!

You can register via CUSO (a Swiss doctoral programme in English language and literature) at[showUid]=2834 (you do not need to be a member of CUSO to register here), or you can send an e-mail to

Postgraduate students are invited to give a 20-minute talk on an aspect of their research, which can range from a fully-fledged paper to a work-in-progress.

Practical matters

How to get to Lausanne

Lausanne can easily be reached by car (, by rail ( and by plane (Geneva airport is closest).

The best way to travel from Geneva Airport to Lausanne is by train. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office or vending machines at Geneva station. There is a direct train from Geneva airport to Lausanne Gare, which runs c. 4 times an hour. The train journey lasts about 60 minutes and costs around CHF 27.- (one-way journey, second class).


How to get around Lausanne

Both buses and metro lines operate within the city of Lausanne. To use them, you will need to purchase a ticket at a vending machine. If you are staying at a hotel, you will receive a free Lausanne transport card that allows for free travel in the city of Lausanne (zones 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19 – 2nd class).

Hotel Accommodation

You can find the best deals via online booking sites like and Moreover, we can recommend the following hotels: Lausanne Guesthouse (YTA), Hôtel du Marché (*), Hôtel Ibis (**), Hôtel Regina (***), Hôtel Aulac (***), Hôtel City (***), Hôtel Bellerive (***), and Hôtel Alpha-Palmiers (****).