Analyzing corpora is not as difficult as it may first sound. You do need to have some computer skills, but at an introductory level the kinds of things you will be doing are not extremely technical. If you are used to searching the Internet, you will probably already have some of the skills needed to search through a corpus. Handling corpus data does take a little time to get used to, but it can be very rewarding indeed. The amount of time it takes to construct a corpus really depends on whether you already have data in electronic form, or whether you have to convert it from handwritten texts (in the case of written data) or whether you have to transcribe it from audio recordings (in the case of spoken data). The latter is much more time-consuming, and there are particular challenges involved with this kind of data. When you are beginning this kind of corpus analysis, the simplest way of compiling a corpus is to use texts that already exist in electronic form. This makes the Internet an accessible source of data. This unit takes you step by step through some of the tools that are used to analyze authentic language, allowing you to discover how they work and how they can inform your teaching.

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