Brown corpus: Corpus of American English

The Brown corpus (full name  Brown University Standard Corpus of Present-Day American English) was the first text corpus of American English. The original corpus was published in 1963-1964 by W. Nelson Francis and Henry Kučera at Department of Linguistics, Brown University Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

The corpus consists of 1 million words (500 samples of 2000+ words each) of running text of edited English prose printed in the United States during the year 1961 and it was revised and amplified in 1979 (see more at

Brown family corpus

This is an extended corpus of the Brown corpus which includes also the Lancaster-Oslo/Bergen Corpus (LOB), Brown’s British English counterpart, as well as Frown and FLOB, the 1990s equivalents of Brown and LOB. The corpus consists of 6 million words in American and British English.

Part-of-speech tagset

The Brown corpus is PoS tagged with the Penn TreeBank tagset. The Brown family corpus has POS tags from the CLAWS tagset version 7.

Tools to work with the Brown corpus

A complete set of tools is available to work with the Brown corpus online (without registration) to generate:

  • word sketch – English collocations categorized by grammatical relations
  • thesaurus – synonyms and similar words for every word
  • word lists – lists of English nouns, verbs, adjectives etc. organized by frequency
  • n-grams – frequency list of multi-word units
  • concordance – examples in context
  • trends – diachronic analysis automatically identifies neologisms and changes in use


The access to the corpus is freely available for research.

Bibliographic references

A Standard Corpus of Present-Day Edited American English, for use with Digital Computers (Brown). 1964, 1971, 1979. Compiled by W. N. Francis and H. Kučera. Brown University. Providence, Rhode Island.

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