Corpus linguistics research tool

I’ve been talking quite a bit about ABBYY FineReader this month, but today let’s look at something completely different.

cartoon ant

AntConc is “a freeware concordance program for Windows, Macintosh OS X, and Linux.” Which means that it is a free software tool you can download to pretty much any computer to explore words in context. It was created by Laurence Anthony of Waseda University for corpus-based research.

Tutorials for how to use this software are available on YouTube and elsewhere. Scroll down this page for a long list and take your pick. We’ve been using this program in the FutureLearn Corpus Linguistics course. As someone who had almost no experience with either corpus linguistics or the tool in advance of this class, I can tell you, it is simple to use if you just watch the tutorials.

This glossary I shared earlier might be useful for deciphering some of the tricks it can do. Basically, you can use AntConc to analyze word use within a body of texts according to:

  • frequency of a word;
  • frequency of the words that are used in connection to a certain word; and
  • patterns of use of certain phrases.

In its most basic application, you can use AntConc as a monolingual, context-based dictionary of sorts (much like many translators use the bilingual website Simply search for a single word and see how it was used by other authors. Take it one step further, and language teachers have an easy way to get real-life examples of word usage for demonstration to their students (or test creation). One more step further, and you can turn your body of work into plaintext files and find out, objectively, what topics you translate most often. And so on!

Click here to download AntConc to your computer and begin exploring your languages.


2 thoughts on “Corpus linguistics research tool

  1. Pingback: Weekly favorites (Mar 7-13) | Adventures in Freelance Translation

  2. Pingback: Stretch your brain this fall | translation, untangled

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