A concordancer is basically a tool that allows for "researching the company that words keep" (Tim Johns). It provides access to any electronic text, i.e. a text available on the computer or from a CD-ROM based corpus or database or the Internet and searches for the occurrence of particular words or structures or combination of words (e.g. verbs and prepositions or an adjective and a noun separated by one or more words, etc.). These are then listed in one-line contexts. Thus its basic function is to extract lists with sample contexts of any word or structure entered into the search option
Concordancing tools represent a special kind of application as their use does not necessarily require the use of computers with the learners themselves. Rather, it is more feasible that with the help of the computer the language teacher creates innovative worksheets to be discussed in class rather than have learners, particularly at lower levels, use the software hands-on. Both uses have been described in great detail in a book on the subject of concordancers in language learning by Chris Tribble [Tribble, Chris (1989): Using concordances in the language classroom. Longman]
The results of the search can then be used as a basis for what Tim Johns (1994) refers to as data-driven learning. A learners task might be to deduct themselves the exact difference in meaning, connotation, and grammatical features of words. Language material can then be acquired in a discovery-based or exploratory mode, which follows constructivist paradigm, thus enabling learners to develop language awareness in addition to structural knowledge of sets of meanings. Tim Johns provides a complete website with samples and links on data-driven learning (http://web.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/timconc.htm). In addition, Chris Tribble (1997) provides a manual on Using Concordances in the Classroom.
Samples for the use of concordancing
Further examples available online from other sources
Tim Johns Data-driven Learning Page - Tim has been putting together a Virtual DDL Library containing samples of concordance-based teaching and learning materials. He'd be interested to hear from other practitioners who might be prepared to submit examples of their work for inclusion in the Library (with full acknowledgment, of course).
Using concordance programs in the modern foreign languages classroom - A module of the The ICT4LT project (Information & Communication Technology for Language Teacher) which aims to develop a new Web-based training course in Information and Communications Technology for Language Teachers. The project's two-year pilot phase runs from September 1998 to August 2000, by which time a complete set of 15 training modules will have been completed.
For further information, we recommend the following sites on the Internet (please note that most those links will open new Internet Explorer windows, therefore pay attention to how many windows are actually active, as too many will interfere with your system's performance):
Joseph Rezeau is a teacher who uses computers in language learning. His website is very useful:
Go directly to his examples for concordances.
Look at Joseph's sample exercise on is feeling vs. feels:
The father of data-driven learning, Tim Johns, has lots of useful information on his website:
Here are a few websites with access to on-line texts and corpora:
COBUILD Bank of English:
The British National Corpus:
ICAMET - Innsbruck Computer Archive of Machine-Readable English Texts: The Innsbruck Computer Archive of Machine-Readable English Texts is divided into three subsections, namely the Prose Corpus 1100-1500 (a full-text database), the Letter Corpus 1386-1688 (containing 254 complete letters from different sources, arranged diachronically), and the Prose Varia Corpus (a mixture of tagged, normalized, translated and otherwise manipulated or synopsized texts). Since the texts are offered in their complete versions, they allow literary, historical and topical analyses of various kinds, particularly studies of cultural history.
Online access to corpora (online concordancing
· Simple searches on the British National Corpus (BNC) at Oxford: You can search for a single word or a phrase, for example Dogged or brown bread, but also use tags & wildcards to search for parts of speech etc.
· COBUILD Direct Corpus Sampler: The Cobuild Direct corpus is composed of 50 million words of contemporary written and spoken text. To get a flavour of the type of linguistic data that a corpus like this can provide, you can type in some simple queries here and get a display of concordance lines from the corpus. The query syntax allows you to specify word combinations, wildcards, part-of-speech tags, and so on.
· Linguistic Data Consortium (University of Pennsylvania): Access to North American Corpora - LDC Online - LDC-Online is a free service for LDC current year members. An interactive tutorial is available to everyone, as is a guest account permitting access to the Brown text corpus, the TIMIT speech corpus and the Switchboard corpus
· Bibliomania - a great starting point with a huge reference section, over 60 classic novels on-line, as well as important classic non-fiction works including Biography, Science, Economics and Ancient Texts, plus poetry. plus Shakespeare ~ (In)complete Works, plus ...
· The Book Stack - an index to on-line books
· The On-Line Books Page - this index includes more than 9000 English works in various formats. All should be free for personal, noncommercial use. You can:
A few special exhibits have been prepared in collaboration with the On-Line Books Page:
100 Philosophy, Parapsychology and Occultism, Psychology
500 Natural Sciences and Mathematics
600 Technology (Applied Sciences)
700 The Arts
800 Literature and Rhetoric
900 Geography and History
The following addresses might become useful when buying software:
CAMSOFT: This company produces and retails CALL software and educational software by mail order and offers consultancy and training services in the area of language learning and teaching technology.
Wida Software is a team of former language teachers and computer designers. They develop and distribute language learning programs throughout the world. Programs running under Windows and the Macintosh are available by mail order for English as a foreign language, for French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian. Wida specialises in making authoring programs that enable teachers to build up libraries of exercises closely geared to the needs of their own students. We provide a training service in London or wherever the customer wants it.
Both Wida Software & Camsoft offer the MonoConc Concordancing Software
Available concordance software
http://www.rjcw.freeserve.co.uk/ - Concordance, text analysis and concordancing software, is for anyone who needs to study texts closely or analyse language in depth. This is the most powerful and flexible software of its kind, with registered users in forty-four countries.
http://www.orst.edu/Dept/eli/celia/macconc.html - Concordance program that does word and letter concordances. Not as fancy as commercial programs, but well worth the price.
http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/computing/research/ucrel/public/1557.html - Corpora: Announcements: Windows Concordance Software
A link into the module on Concordancing of the ICT4LT teacher training website: A website dedicated to Information and Communications Technology for Language Teachers. A total of 16 training modules have been completed and are being continually updated. Click here to see the List of modules.
A Case Study on Web Concordances: This Case Study (prepared by R.J.C. Watt, Senior Lecturer in English
University of Dundee) examines The Web Concordances, a Web-based teaching, learning, and research resource. This, the first attempt of its kind to deliver fully-realised literary concordances on the Web, is on-line at http://www.dundee.ac.uk/english/wics/wics.htm
A Ten-step Introduction to Concordancing through the Collins Cobuild Corpus Concordance Sampler: An online tutorial on how to use corpora & concordancers for language learning and teaching purposes, based on a freely available corpus and sample concordancer.
Concord.software - List of online dictionaries
CTI Textual Studies: A Summary of Text Analysis Tools
http://www.webcorp.org.uk/ - online concordances
http://www.rjcw.freeserve.co.uk/ - a version of concordance software by Professor Marjorie Chan, Ohio Sthttp://www.concordance.com/author.htm - Great Books: Texts and Fully Searchable Concordances ate University
List of online dictionaries
http://www.ldc.upenn.edu/cgi-bin/aesl/aesl - The American English Spoken Lexicon (AESL) contains pronunciations captured in individual audio files for more than 50,000 of the most common words in English
http://www.peak.org/~jeremy/dictionary/dict.html - The American-British - British-American Dictionary for English speaking people
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/ - The Cambridge International Dictionary of English
http://publishing.cambridge.org/elt/ Cambridge Dictionaries OnLine
http://www.m-w.com/ - The new Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English
http://www.thesaurus.com/ - Thesaurus
http://www.oed.com/ - Oxford English Dictionary
http://www.onelook.com/ - Search dictionary web sites for words and phrases.
http://www.bartleby.com/61/ - Over 90,000 entries feature 10,000 new words and senses, 70,000 audio word pronunciations, 900 full-page color illustrations, language notes and word-root appendixes
http://smac.ucsd.edu/cgi-bin/http_webster? - This hypertext Webster interface provides a point-and-click client interface (for non-linemode browsers) for accessing various dictionary services on the Internet.
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Dictionaries/EastonBibleDictionary/ - Easton’s Bible Dictionary
Online-Service der Informatik
der Technischen Universität München
http://www.babylon.com/gloss/glossaries.html - a huge database of glossaries, covers a wide range of professional and interest fields, including Medicine, Business, Sports, Computers, Electronics, Education, etc.
http://www.duhaime.org/dictionary/diction.htm - law dictionary
http://wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/ - dictionary of computing
http://www.webopedia.com/ - online dictionary and search engine you need for computer and Internet technology.
http://cancerweb.ncl.ac.uk/omd/ - OnLine Medical Dictionary
http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/search/dict-search.html - BioTech’s Life Science Dictionary (biochemistry, biotechnology, botany, cell biology and genetics)
- The Dictionary of Cell & Molecular
http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/agidict/welcome.html - The dictionary includes definitions for 980 terms compiled from a variety of sources which either relate directly to GIS or which GIS users may come across in the course of their work. The dictionary is also supplemented by 52 diagrams
- a summary of most of the units of
measurement to be found in use around the world today (and a few of
historical interest), together with the appropriate conversion factors
needed to change them into a 'standard' unit of the SI.
material in art, art history, art criticism, aesthetics, and art education
http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/doddict/ - DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
- A Compilation of Technical Water, Water
Quality, Environmental, and Water-Related Terms
- chemistry and