MICASE Corpus of spoken English on campus

MICASE is a searchable collection or “corpus” of the transcripts of real-life spoken language on the University of Michigan campus.  Most of the audio files are available for free download too. MICASE represents language as it is actually spoken on one university campus, which differs dramatically from how language looks in English textbooks.  In MICASE, we can

  • listen to real, messy, fast, unplanned speech
  • search for idioms and common phrases
  • explore how a word or phrase is used (context, purpose, grammar, who uses it)
  • explore the friends & neighbors of a word or phrase
  • look at vocabulary used for specific purposes, such as to open a presentation, or change topics in a conversation, or make a polite request
  • shadow, track, or repeat speakers in the sound files to work on fluency and pronunciation

A sample of findings from MICASE’s text search illlustrates how we can see the phrases composed with the word “amazing,” which shows up 54 times in this small but rich corpus of spoken lanugage.

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