Written by Bilal Kadiri, King Khalid University
The ‘Featured Researcher’ blog articles aim to provide a more detailed insight (when compared with the researcher profiles) into some of the prominent researchers within the field of Corpus Linguistics. The first researcher to be featured on the AAC Blog is Laurence Anthony, who is a Professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University, Japan.
There are a number of researchers who have made an immense contribution to Corpus Linguistics over the past few decades and it was a tricky decision as to who to feature first. However, I felt that it was important to showcase Anthony’s work at an early stage, especially for the readers who are new to corpus linguistics and/or do not currently have a university affiliation. Anthony has developed a number of corpus software tools, the majority of which are freeware. Thus, providing an opportunity for aspiring corpus linguists to engage in corpus-based research and familiarise themselves with corpus techniques such as keyword analysis, collocation analysis and concordance analysis, without having to take out a software user licence for the privilege.
When entitling this article, I chose to label Anthony as the ‘Thomas Edison of Corpus Linguistics’ and this was not purely due to him being an inventor of corpus software. As many of you are aware, we are fortunate enough to have dozens of individuals, who have designed corpus software, which have made a positive and lasting contribution towards the analysis of corpora. Rather, it is due to the sheer volume, as well as the numerous varieties of useful software that Anthony has created, which makes him ‘Edisonesque’. Edison is described as America’s greatest inventor and held over 1,000 US patents in his name, with his inventions not limited to any single area of expertise.
It is due to this sheer volume of software that it would not be feasible for me to go into any real depth regarding all of Anthony’s software. However, it would be most apt for me to start with AntConc, which is quite possibly his most well-known software. AntConc is a corpus analysis toolkit that provides corpus linguist with the ability to carry out Key-Word-In-Context (KWIC) concordance analysis as well as various forms of textual analysis (collocates, cluster/n-grams, word (frequency) lists, keywords, etc.). AntConc provides all the necessary tools for established corpus linguists, as well as those new to corpus linguistics, to analyse a corpus using the most commonly utilised corpus techniques.
With Anthony’s software tools there is very little that you are unable to do with your corpus. TagAnt and AntCLAWSGUI can be used to tag your corpus, based on Part-Of-Speech (POS) and VariAnt helps you identify variations in spelling within a corpus. Additionally, you could use AntFileSplitter to split the larger corpus text file into smaller text files, as well as use SarAnt to perform a batch search and replace within the text file. Anthony has also collaborated with other corpus linguists to develop specialised software, such as ProtAnt (developed with Paul Baker), FireAnt (developed with Claire Hardaker) and Kaleidographic (developed with Helen Caple and Monika Bednarek). Click here for a full list of Laurence Anthony’s software.
There is little doubt that Laurence Anthony’s work has been of great value to the vast majority of the Corpus Linguistic community, not only to established academics, but also to hundreds of research students, whose doctoral theses and master’s dissertation were completed with the assistance of one of his corpus software tools. Technology is evolving on an almost daily basis and we look forward to the next software tool Anthony will create, in order to assist us in effectively analysing language usage in this ever changing climate.
Further information about Laurence Anthony can be found on his personal website – www.laurenceanthony.net.
Please Note: The ‘featured researcher’ blog articles will only be featuring researchers who are still active in research. Those researchers who have retired or passed away will be showcased in another area on the website, which will be announced in the coming months. Additionally, it should be noted that the views expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of those mentioned within the article.