Thursday, April 2, 2009

POSTING 5: Concordance

Good day everyone! In this posting we are required to blog on Concordance.We are asked to post two articles on Concordance and it's benefits to Language Learners. Have you heard what concordance is? well, no worries if you have never come across this word, because in this posting, there will be a full explanation on what concordance is all about! To get a gist on what concordance is all about, take a look at the pictures first.Still unsure?

Oh well, without much ado, let me begin by adding my two articles together with my reflections

Article 1:

(Data-Driven Language Learning) by Betsy Kerr

What is concordancing?
o a type of computerized text analysis, long used by corpus linguists and literary scholars, employing a corpus and a concordancer.

An electronically-formatted text or set of texts, that represents a certain type of real-world languge use, written or oral (transcription of recordings)

A computer program that generates a CONCORDANCE, a list of all occurrences of a given word or expression in the given corpus, with the context in which it occurs.

Concordancing allows us to:
1.Look at authentic language samples and zero in on a particular feature, whether
it be lexical or grammatical, and to discover the patterns which characterize the
use of that item in discourse.
2.Compare patterns in different types of discourse: spoken vs. written; literary,
journalistic, administrative texts; etc.
3.Take the burden off the teacher or the reference grammar to 'know the answer', by
engaging the learner in discovering how the language works.


1.As a grammar reference, for the teacher's own personal language learning (Web
search, Google).
2.For research that can guide the development of pedagogical materials
(textbooks): what features should be taught when? Example: variant interrogative
forms in conversation.
3.Actual concordances can be used as the basis for exercises and activities:
o Students are asked to formulate generalizations on the basis of the data.
o With relevant items deleted (in selected, rearranged concordance lines), the
concordance can be used as a fill-in-the-blank exercise.
4.Students can do their own research with a concordancer or Web search engine.

My feedback:
In this article by Betsy Kerr, it tells us about concordance, corpus, a concordancer, what concordancing allows us to do and the specific uses of concordance. To be truthful, this is the first time I am coming across the word ‘concordance’ but, after reading this article which is point-by-point form, really helped me to fully understand more about concordance. I find most interesting in this article is that it tells us the specific uses of concordance. I only know that concordance is used find how many times does a word occur in a passage. Which I thought was really boring. But, there is actually more to it than just that. It’s actually very interesting, because students can formulate generalizations on the basis of the data and students can also do their own research with a concordancer or Web search engine. From what I have came to know, there is also a various software’s on the Net whereby students and teachers can download for a free 30 day trial. This, in my point of view, is very useful, as students and teachers can make full use of for 30 days before they decide on purchasing it.

Article 2:


Concordancers search texts stored on computer and display all the occurrences of a selected word or phrase. To understand how a concordancer works, look at an example of a keyword in context (KWIC) display for the word local from a collection of texts published in the South China Morning Post. What do you think you could say about the meaning of the word 'local' in this context?
Task 1 - Applications for language teaching
When language learners use concordancers:
•They discover rules of usage and grammar for themselves
•The learn that language is complex and that rules are seldom 100% true
•They learn to rely on their own judgement rather than the teacher
Concordancing is also a good way to train learners to pay attention to patterns of usage in their everyday reading.
Some teachers also use concordancers to prepare printed worksheets for their students. Take a look at an example worksheet on Internet Neologisms written by Tim Johns at the University of Birmingham. Can you work out the meaning of spam from this worksheet?
You can find more examples of printed handouts based on concordance output in Tim John's Virtual Data-driven Learning Library.
Task 2 - What you need
In order to do concordancing, you need two things:
•A concordancer. Later in this session, we will use WordSmith Tools, which is installed in the lab.
•A corpus of texts. Later in this session we will use two corpora called the SCMP corpus and the HKBooks corpus. This has also been installed in the lab.
Use the software links to work out how to get a copy of WordSmith Tools. Use the links in the readings for this session to explore sources of text.
Task 3 - Web concordancing
It is also possible to do concordancing through the web. Try to search for a word that interests you at one of the sites below. Can you work out what kind of texts you are searching?
Virtual Language Centre
BNC On-line
Task 4 - Using WordSmith Tools: basic functions
WordSmith Tools is one of the best concordancing packages on the market. The first step in using WordSmith Tools is to understand the kinds of questions you can answer with it.
Using WordSmith Tools to improve your English grammar is a handout used to train students to use Wordsmith Tools in a 50 minute session. It explains how to formulate answerable questions and contains 10 sample questions about English grammar that you can try to answer for yourself.
How to use WordSmith Tools explains some of the main functions of Wordsmith Tools.
Keep both of these documents open on your screen and try to answer some of the 10 sample questions using the SCMPCorp and HKBooks corpora installed in the lab.
Task 5 - Using WordSmith Tools: advanced functions
You can also use WordSmith Tools to:
•produce a list of all the words in a text or corpus with their frequencies
•compare wordlists for different texts and corpora
To try out these functions, a number of smaller files have been installed in the lab.
•Holmes.txt - The full text of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
•Scandal.txt - The text of the story 'A Scandal in Bohemia' from this book
•Jack.txt - The text of the story 'Jack and the Beanstalk' from The Red Fairy Book (1894)
•Essay1.txt - the text of a first year HKU student examination essay
•Essay2.txt - the text of another HKU student essay on the same topic
Use these files to experiment with wordlists.
Task 6 - Preparing files for a concordancer
Concordancers do not work with any kind of file. Most concordancers only work with plain text files (files without text formatting). To see what a plain text file looks like, take a look at jack.txt.
Most files can be converted to plain text. For example, any Microsoft Word document can be saved as plain text by using the Save as command on the menu and selecting Text only in the Save as type box. To experiment, open the file abnorm2.doc and save it as a plain text file on your desktop. Close the file and then open it again with Microsoft Word. Notice what happens to the heading.
Web pages can also be saved as plain text files using the Save as command in your browser. To experiment, save this page as a text file on your desktop. Double-click the file icon on the desktop to see what it looks like.
A corpus is a collection of texts of a similar type. Notice that WordSmith Tools is able to search many files at once provided they are in the same folder. A convenient way to build up a corpus is place each text in a separate file within the same folder. This means that the user can search all the files at once or search them one by one.

For more information on applications of concordancing in language teaching, look at the readings for this session.

My feedback:
This article starts by stating what concordance is all about. It also shows different steps to identify what concordance is all about. I find this article very helpful, as it takes the reader from one level to another. When an article is stated in a chronological order, it’s always easier for the reader to grasp as much information as they can about the topic as it is stated clearly. In this article for example, first, it talks about the meaning of concordance then it moves on to its applications to language learning, moving on to the tools that you need to carry out concordance, web concordance, Using WordSmith Tools: basic and advanced functions, preparing files for a concordance and last but not least is reading for further reference. Thus, if feel that I can get a better view on concordance and also it’s applications to language learners just by reading this article. It’s not easy to find one article that has already been broken into many parts. But, finding this article really helped me to get another view on concordance. This article also provides links to other web pages so that readers can get to know more about the topic that they are reading on. This way, in my opinion, is a very good way to encourage readers to not only depend on one article but also widen their research pattern.


1.Concordance gives you the most effective, cost-efficient way to manage the high volume of documents—including emails and e-documents—generated during litigation.
2.Concordance also includes an exciting new way for litigators to instantly conduct
legal research, right from their discovery documents. Whether accessing documents from your desktop, laptop or the web, Concordance delivers award-winning,
industry-leading features that turn discovery as you know it, into discovery as
you want it.
3.Concordance discovery software is used on the largest cases being litigated
today. It can handle over 33 million records per database and allows up to 250
customizable fields per record.
4.Teachers can use a concordancer to find examples of authentic usage to
demonstrate features of vocabulary, typical collocations, a point of grammar or
even the structure of a text
5.Teachers can also generate exercises based on examples drawn from a variety of corpora, for example gap-filling exercises and tests.
6.Students can work out rules of grammar or usage and lexical features for
themselves by searching for key words in context. Depending on their level, they
can be invited to question some of the rules, based on their observation of patterns in authentic language.
7.Students can be more active in their vocabulary learning: depending on their
level, they can be invited to discover new meanings, to observe habitual
collocations, to relate words to syntax, or to be critical of dictionary entries.
8.Students can be invited to reflect on language use in general, based on their own explorations of a corpus of data, thus turning themselves into budding researchers.

In conclusion, concordance is a tool that not only helps teachers to inculcate a more exciting way in the teaching and learning process but also benefits the students as well. This is because of the many benefits that the use of concordance has.

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