Research on English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has undoubtedly benefited from the new advances brought by digitalization and by the use of corpus linguistics tools (Nesi 2013). As a consequence, the role of the linguist has changed considerably in the last decades to embrace new research methodologies emerging from the IT field. Linguistic data can now be combined, annotated, mined and visualized using high-powered computing; moreover, technologization and digitalization have made it possible to make large amount of textual data accessible through various channels in a variety of fields, some of which are still largely unexplored. Bearing this in mind, the present paper illustrates a project currently under development at the University of Verona (Italy) which focusses on the language of diplomats in interviews; so far, this field has received little attention, also on account of the limited number of spoken data focussing on such topic. To overcome this issue, we have developed the InterDiplo Corpus, an ESP corpus including broadcast interviews and debates, where diplomats and international operators are interviewed in English by journalists who do not share the same lingua-cultural background. In the development and analysis of the corpus special attention is dedicated to the fundamental definition of structural mark-up and part of speech annotation. Indeed, as the examples provided by our case study will illustrate, to develop a tagset allowing linguistic analysis from different perspectives, current linguists need to adequately combine computational competence and linguistic knowhow, as well as to be aware of the evolving face of English. Overall, the balance between technological potentialities and the experience of ESP researchers will allow for specialized corpora that may produce significant linguistic results for their compilers though leaving ample room for free initiative in further analyses from the wider research community.
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