Concordancing Kingdom of Saudi Arabia The Royal Commission at Yanbu Yanbu University College Yanbu Al-Sinaiyah x Applied linguistics Department Educational Technology EDU 401-111 2011-2012
11/12/11 Practical use
What is a ‘corpus’?
A ‘collection of words’
corpus is a large and structured set of texts (now usually electronically stored and processed)
Thus, in the case of language, we are talking about a body of language - a collection, usually computer-stored, of language which can then be used for analysis.
Bank of English (University of Birmingham): 250 million words
British National Corpus (BNC Consortium): 100 million words (90% written, 10% spoken) ( http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/ )
Searchable using computer software and the Internet
What is concordance? 11/12/11 A “concordance”, according to the Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary (1987) , is: “An alphabetical list of the words in a book or a set of books which also says where each word can be found and often how it is used .”
What is concordance? 11/12/11 A basic manual concordance taken from Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet” give us very accurate information about the way language is authentically used an alphabetical list of the principal words used in a book or body of work, with their immediate contexts
What is concordance? 11/12/11 A basic manual concordance taken from Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet” So a concordance is a list of words (called keywords , e.g. here "sin"), taken from a piece of authentic language ( corpus , e.g. here Romeo and Juliet ), displayed in the centre of the page and shown with parts of the contexts in which they occur (here maximum 29 characters to the left of the keyword and to the right). This is also known as a Key Words In Context concordance or a KWIC concordance.
What is concordance? 11/12/11 only works of special importance, such as the Bible, Qur'an or the works of Shakespeare, had concordances prepared for them. A basic manual concordance taken from Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet” can be used to search, access and analyze language from a corpus.
What is concordancing? 11/12/11 The software used for doing this are often called KWIC concordancers ( Key Words In Context). A basic manual concordance taken from Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet” Concordancing is the act of picking out examples of a given word in context.
A concordancer is a piece of software that searches a corpus (a collection of texts in electronic form) for a selected word or phrase and presents every instance of that word or phrase in the centre of the computer screen, with the words that come before and after it to the left and right.
A node word is a selected word, appearing in the centre of the screen. A concordance is the lines of text illustrating the search word, the node
a computer program that automatically constructs a concordance
11/12/11 typical concordancers allows us to enter a word or phrase search for multiple examples of how that word or phrase is used more complex concordancers can extract examples from very particular contexts and even discriminate between spoken or written language use. a piece of software , either installed on a computer or accessed through a website
What is concordance?
This is the video that teach you how to use the concordancer.
Concordancers are also used in corpus linguistics to retrieve alphabetically or otherwise sorted lists of linguistic data from the corpus in question, which the corpus linguist then analyzes
Online Concordancers 11/12/11 Thus, for example if we are interested in the word “ stand” the concordancing program would search out all examples of the word and place them in rows with the word “stand” in the middle. Have a look below to give you some idea of what a concordance line looks like, using the word ‘media’ taken from the Video Corpus. A computer-generated concordance
study of a text:
comparing different usages of the same word
analysing word frequencies
finding and analysing phrases and idioms
creating indexes and word lists (also useful for publishing)
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 Rather than tell students a particular rule, students can be given a set of concordances and asked to discover for themselves what rules can be deduced from the evidence. This could be something simple such as discovering that the verb form changes the third person. In addition, this task can be done with more complex patterns such as collocations Find the rule So what can you do in the classroom with a corpus? There are several things that can be done very easily:
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 This is the most simple and most corpus analysis tools will give you the frequency lists of texts. This is perhaps not very interesting, but it can show - apart from all the grammar and function words - which special words, for example, in a given genre are the most frequent. Thus you could feed in the language found in this Video Corpus and compare it to a general English corpus. Looking at Frequency
In the classroom 11/12/11 he fact that computers can generate such a large amount of collocations in seconds affords the teacher and student access to very interesting and relevant information. For example, a business English student wants to know more about how the word market is used. The word can be keyed in and the collocates examined. In this way new collocates and even idiomatic phrases can be seen in context and learned. Have a look at Michael Lewis’s book Implementing the Lexical Approach for a much more detailed account of how this can be done. Looking at Collocations So what can you do in the classroom with a corpus? There are several things that can be done very easily:
Many common words have a number of usages and meanings. Students can be given some concordances of a single word, and told to group them according to usage.
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 Categorize
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 With the advent of cheap and free authoring software it is now possible to create ones own internet quizzes (see 'hot Potato'). With such software it is possible to create quizzes in which students have to fill gaps. Just as these gaps can be part of a larger passage of text, they can also be part of concordance lines. Furthermore, with these kinds of online 'tests' it is possible to give students instant feedback. As a computer quiz
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 For more advanced students you can use a corpus for them to see how certain grammatical patterns are used in real speech/writing. In 1988, Johns use a corpus to get his students to look at the differences when the word “to” is used as an infinitive and when it is used as a preposition. He also asked them to look at how the words “therefore” and “hence” differentiated in their use. Getting students to see grammatical patterns:
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 Concordances are an efficient way of providing students with a large amount of example sentences. These examples can be sorted so that similar usages appear together. Certainly, a dictionary contains examples, but often examples are too few. Example sentences
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 Again, another very simple old exercise. Take sentences from the corpus and split the sentences in half. Then ask the students to put them back together again. Linking sentences
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 Many common words have a number of usages and meanings. Students can be given some concordances of a single word, and told to group them according to usage. Put in order
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 The old standard gap-fill type exercises are much better when you can take them directly from an authentic corpus - just remove collocates or key words and get the students to fill them back in again. Fill in the gaps
In the classroom: Some teaching ideas 11/12/11 Finding genuine examples Understanding different meanings/uses Looking at their own errors
For more teaching ideas 11/12/11 Check the handout about more a advantages of using concordancers in language classroom
Some Possible Problems
Majority of corpora are based on authentic language use - far too challenging for lower level students.
Not all concordancer interfaces are user-friendly and some can be very complex for students to use- often uses quite complex linguistic terminology.
simple alternative is to use any normal search engine and type in the word you are interested in.
Not all teachers and students have access to the Internet during class.
Often seem challenging to both teachers and students.
Incorporating concordancers into L&T process may take time and effort.
Ultimately can be an incredibly useful tool for L&T process.
Go to the tutorial on the files’ section: How to use a concordancers
2. Start exploring and follow the steps
3. Next, go to http://www.lextutor.ca/concordancers/concord_e.html and choose a new corpus and see if there are any differences between spoken and written English.
How to use concordances in teaching English: Some suggestions