Building your own corpus – initial exploration

I’ll describe here what can be done initially with your corpus in AntConc. This post should be read after the first steps in Antconc post.

The keyword results, which shows the most significant words compared to a reference corpus, is a great way to check what words your class already knows. You can use your judgement as to how many and what words to use, the list can be recycled to check students understanding over time, and any number of ways could be used to exploit the list.

Next you can focus on certain words and explore further. Before making use of the Collocation function we need to make sure that in Tool Preferences>Category>Collocates the Selected Collocate measure is set to T-score. Then focusing on say the adjective responsive, we switch to the Collocation tab and enter the word and we get this screen:


We see that the most significant noun which collocates one word to the right of responsive is design. We can do this with other adjectives from the keyword list and can get the following list:

Responsive design
New features
Faster javascript
Latest version
Desktop browser

Depending on your purposes you can add to the list and use it in a matching exercise. Focusing further we can use the collocation function again to look at what goes with responsive design:


The only statistically significant word is of with a T-score of more than 2. However we see off, that’s curious, entering off responsive design into the concordance function we discover:


i.e. turn off is the appropriate collocation. The above shows how unexpected uses can arise, i.e. we can ask students to think of a sentence using X + of + responsive design and Y + off + responsive design and see if what they come up with makes sense.

Additionally although embrace/s/d/ing is not statistically significant it is an interesting collocation:


Presenting the above sentences we can try to see if the students can work out the meaning of embrace.

Stay tuned for related posts.