100+ million word corpus of American English (1920s-2000s)

June 25th, 2007 by Simon Mahony

Saw this on Humanist. Anything out there and also freely available for UK English?

A new 100+ million word corpus of American English (1920s-2000s) is now freely available at:

http://corpus.byu.edu/time/

The corpus is based on more than 275,000 articles in TIME magazine from 1923 to 2006, and it contains articles on a wide range of topics – domestic and international, sports, financial, cultural, entertainment, personal interest, etc.

The architecture and interface is similar to the one that we have created for our version of the British National Corpus (see http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc), and it allows users to:

– Find the frequency of particular words, phrases, substrings (prefixes, suffixes, roots) in each decade from the 1920s-2000s. Users can also limit the results by frequency in any set of years or decades. They can also see charts that show the totals for all matching strings in each decade (1920s-2000s), as well as each year within a given decade.

– Study changes in syntax since the 1920s. The corpus has been tagged for part of speech with CLAWS (the same tagger used for the BNC), and users can easily carry out searches like the following (from among endless possibilities): changes in the overall frequency of “going + to + V”, or “end up V-ing”, or preposition stranding (e.g. “[VV*] with .”), or phrasal verbs (1920s-1940s vs 1980s-2000s).

– Look at changes in collocates to investigate semantic shifts during the past 80 years. Users can find collocates up to 10 words to left or right of node word, and sort and limit by frequency in any set of years or decades.

– As mentioned, the interface is designed to easily permit comparisons between different sets of decades or years. For example, with one simple query users could find words ending in -dom that are much more frequent 1920s-40s than 1980s-1990s, nouns occurring with “hard” in 1940s-50s but not in the 1960s, adjectives that are more common 2003-06 than 2000-02, or phrasal verbs whose usage increases markedly after the 1950s, etc.

– Users can easily create customized lists (semantically-related words, specialized part of speech category, morphologically-related words, etc), and then use these lists directly as part of the query syntax.

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For more information, please contact Mark Davies (http://davies-linguistics.byu.edu), or visit:

http://corpus.byu.edu/

for information and links to related corpora, including the upcoming BYU American National Corpus [BANC] (350+ million words, 1990-2007+).

————————————————————————
—– Mark Davies
Professor of (Corpus) Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Web: davies-linguistics.byu.edu

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