Live example

view and use a live concordance sorted by the first word to the left of the node, with tags displayed for the node and document title displayed for each line

Concordance – a list of examples in context

A concordance is a list of all examples of the search word (also called a keyword or query) or a phrase from a text corpus accompanied with some context to the left and some context to the right. Until the arrival of  Word Sketches, concordances were the main tools to retrieve information from corpora. The screenshot below shows the most frequently used format called a KWIC concordance where the search word is highlighted in the centre of the screen and an equal amount of context is displayed to the right and left.

concordance generated using CQL from a corpus

An example of an advanced concordance: examples of grow followed by words similar to tomato within 4 tokens from grow. The user set the view options to display tags for the search word and the text type for each example.

Why use concordances?

In the early days of corpus linguistics, concordances were quite basic. On the other hand nowadays, concordances should be used only for specific tasks which cannot be achieved via Word Sketches and other features.

  • Pros
  • detailed and complex search criteria can be set

    searches can be performed using various attributes, not only lemmas but also tags, text types etc.

    CQL can be used

  • Cons
  • can produce thousands and millions of examples impossible to process manually (but there are tools to further process the results to make them manageable)

    can be impractical for high frequency phenomena