Several colleagues have asked for a follow up to the chapter " iCorpus: making corpora meaningful for pre-service teacher education" Alev Özbilgin and I wrote for Innovations in pre-service education and training
for English language teachers edited by Julian Edge and Steve Mann. The main requests have been to provide a simple step-by-step guide to creating an iCorpus and using tools to analyze it.
I'm assuming that you have read our chapter and understand the nature of the iCorpus and how it can be used for self-directed language development. If you don't have time to read the full chapter, I've added a summary at the end (read more) giving a bit of background to the iCorpus-why we saw a need for it, how we developed it, what it is and why it is useful as a language learning tool.
Step 1: Building the iCorpus
- Create a folder titled "icorpus"
- Open any of the writing you want to include in your word processor.
- Chose the SAVE AS option, and select PLAIN TEXT (sometimes TXT)
- Make sure you name your files logically. For example, if this is an academic iCorpus, you could start each file with the course code it was written for.
- Then direct the SAVE AS option to save into your 'iCorpus' folder.
Step 2: Building your reference corpus
- In order to analyze your iCorpus, you need to have a 'reference' corpus of writing that represents how you would like to write.
- Create a separate folder for your reference corpus, and title it "refcorpus".
- You may create different reference corpora, in which case you can name them differently to keep them distinct.
- For an academic reference corpus, this may be articles that you have read in your course, or readings recommended by your instructor.
- Word processing programs will have a FILE > SAVE AS option to plain text.
- For PDFs, there is a FILE > SAVE AS TEXT option. Note, this only works for PDFs created from electronic texts, not scanned pages as images.
- For web pages, you will need to highlight and copy the text you want. Then open a text editor like NOTEPAD, paste the content there, and then SAVE as a TXT file.
Step 3: Putting it all together in ANTONC
- Download the ANTCONC program and install it on your computer (note this is free to download and use).
- Run the program.
- In the main program window, open the iCorpus folder (FILE > OPEN DIR)
- All the individual files in your iCorpus will appear in the top left window pane. It is then easy to interrogate the iCorpus on its own.
- Click on WORD LIST to see an list of all the words in the iCorpus by frequency.
- Click on a word in the WORD LIST view, and you will see a KWIC (key word in context) concordance, showing each instance of that word in the iCorpus in context.
- Click CLUSTERS to see occurrences of groups of words that include that word.
- Click COLLOCATES to see a list of collocates by frequency
- Go to TOOLS PREFERENCES > KEYWORD LIST and under "Reference Corpus Options" click CHOOSE FILES to choose a corpus as a single file, or ADD DIRECTORY to choose a corpus that consists of individual files in a folder.
- You will see the reference corpus file(s) appear in the window pane.
- Then click APPLY.
- You will see a list that functions the same as WORD LIST, but the words listed are those that appear more frequently in the iCorpus than the reference corpus.
- Go to TOOLS PREFERENCES > KEYWORD LIST and under "Reference Corpus Options" click SWAP REFMAIN FILES to swap the iCorpus with the reference corpus.
- You will see the iCorpus file(s) appear in the window pane..
- Then click APPLY.
- You will see a list that functions the same as WORD LIST, but the words listed are those that appear more frequently in the reference corpus than the iCorpus.