Engelsk och svensk dramadialog - ESDD

A group of researchers at the English department and the Department of Scandinavian languages have compiled a corpus of drama texts in English and Swedish, from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In English, the name of the corpus is English and Swedish Drama Dialogue, and in Swedish it is called Engelsk och svensk dramadialog, with the abbreviation ESDD. The first version of the corpus was published in May, 2014.

Research group

The researchers compiling the corpus were professor Merja Kytö, professor Mats Thelander, docent Ulla Marttala Melander, and dr Linnéa Anglemark. Dr Sofia Gustafson Capková from the department of linguistics at Stockholm university did the xml coding, and has provided technical assistance and written the XAIRA manual.

The corpus

The texts in the corpus wrre written during three different time periods.

  • Period 1: 1725-c.1750
  • Period 2: 1825-1850
  • Period 3: 1925-1950

The corpus consists of extracts from 30 texts: five in Swedish and five in English for each of the periods. Here is a list of all the texts in the ESDD.


The ESDD is tagged at the utterance level, which means that each utterance in the dialogue text of the dramas has been tagged with information about the sex, age, and social status for the speaker and for the addressee. An utterance could, for instance, be taggedwith the information "speaker: male, old, high status; addressee: female, young, non-high status". Using corpus tools, it is possible to investigate how characters of different age, gender, and social status have been talking to each other across different periods of time.

The following tags were used:

  • Age: old, young, child, x (unknown, also used when groups of people are speaking in unison)
  • Sex: male, female, x
  • Status: high, non-high, x

The corpus can be searched using the corpus tool XAIRA, which can be downloaded from sourceforge.net, but other corpus tools that can read xml can also be used to work with the ESDD. In connection with the work on the corpus, a manual (currently only available in Swedish) describing how to use XAIRA to work with the ESDD has been written. The manual is available here.