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Analyzing Concordances

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Publication date5/05/2021
Host publicationA Practical Handbook of Corpus Linguistics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (electronic)9783030462161
ISBN (print)9783030462154
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In its simplest form, a concordance is a list of all attestations (or hits) of a particular search word or phrase, presented with a user-defined amount of context to the left and right of the search word or phrase. In this chapter, we describe how to generate and manipulate concordances, and we discuss how they can be employed in research and teaching. We describe how to generate, sort, and prune concordances prior to further analysis or use. In a section devoted to qualitative analysis, we detail how a discourse-analytical approach, either on the basis of unannotated concordance lines or on the basis of output generated by a prior quantitative examination of the data, can help describe and, crucially, explain the observable patterns, for instance by recourse to concepts such as semantic prosody. In a section devoted to quantitative analysis, we discuss how concordance lines can be scrutinized for various properties of the search term and annotated accordingly. Annotated concordance data enable the researcher to perform statistical analyses over hundreds or thousands of data points, identifying distributional patterns that might otherwise escape the researcher’s attention. In a third section, we turn to pedagogical applications of concordances. We close with a critical assessment of contemporary use of concordances as well as some suggestions for the adequate use of concordances in both research and teaching contexts, and give pointers to tools and resources.

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