Unit 2: Concordancers
Target objectives for this unit
After completing the materials in this unit you should
- know what a concordancer is and what it is in relation to corpus data
- query a concordancer to get various results
- have some ideas about uses for concordancer output
What is a concordancer?
Read a mini-lecture on the subject: Unit 2 - mini-lecture
Using the Concordancer
Now that you know what a corpus is, how do you use it to get at the information you are after. One answer - the one we are focusing on here - is by using a concordancer. Most corpora have concordancers associated with them so that users can get information from them. It is a simple and common way to interact meaningfully with a corpus. There are also "stand-alone" concordancers that can be used on any text you choose.
Typical concordancer output, such as the KWIC (keyword in context) list in the Unit 1 - example lesson, presents a list of contexts, one per line, with the search term aligned in the center.
Some online concordancers allow the user to select from a list of corpora, including some of the most commonly used corpora, such as the Brown Corpus.
Concordancers are able to present results that help a student understand the following things about words or phrases:
- Frequency (i.e. how common a word or phrase is)
- Grammatical information (i.e. how it fits into a sentence and what words or types of words can go with it)
Unit 2 exercises
Back to Unit 1: Corpora
Back to the beginning: Data-Driven Language Learning Using Corpora and Concordancing