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The source of data for this study is written English as it is attested in the older version of the BNC (as opposed to the newer BNC-Baby). It consists of 100 million words, 90% of which is in written form, and is a balanced representation of British English from the 1970s to the 1980s. It comprises various types of written English: 25% of the written material is taken from fictional writing, while the remaining material includes various forms of ‘informative’ writing, such as newspaper writing and academic writing (Burnard 2000: 7).
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