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.

The lextutor concordancer, and others, 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:

  • Meanings
  • Frequency (i.e. how common a word or phrase is)
  • Grammatical information (i.e. how it fits into a sentence and what words of types of words can go with it)

Unit 2 exercises

Think.pngThinking Exercise 2

Hand.gifHands Dirty Exercise 2

Blue arrow.jpg On to Unit 3: Making a Data-Driven Lesson

BackArrow.png Back to Unit 1: Corpora

Back to the beginning: Data-Driven Language Learning Using Corpora and Concordancing

Data-Driven Language Learning Glossary