The Varieties of English for Specific Purposes dAtabase (VESPA) is a corpus of English for Specific Purposes texts written by L2 writers from various mother tongue backgrounds. In its first release, it contains 941 texts (over 2 million words) produced by university students at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels and collected by VESPA partners from five European universities (Radboud University, The Netherlands; UCLouvain, Belgium; University of Barcelona, Spain; University of Oslo, Norway; Uppsala University, Sweden).

VESPA consists of assignments that students submitted for course credit in disciplinary content courses. In that sense, the corpus answers repeated calls for greater ecological validity in L2 writing research (Polio, 2017; Biber et al., 2020). The large majority of the texts collected so far (79%) were collected in linguistics courses (taught by VESPA partners or colleagues in the same department) but some VESPA partners have also started compiling sub-corpora in literature and business communication.

To classify the VESPA texts into register categories, we used the classification system from MICUSP (Römer and O’Donnell, 2011: 170-71). Most texts (78%) fall into one of two categories, reports and research papers, but VESPA also includes critiques/evaluations, proposals and response papers. See Paquot et al. (forthcoming) for more details about the corpus.

Registered access
How to access VESPA

VESPA is available for teaching and research purposes. In the future, we hope to rely on an automatic registration procedure but in the meantime, please contact us at if you are interested in using the corpus. We will try our best to create new accounts quickly.