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Prelims Paper 1 - Introduction to English Language and Literature: Text analysis tools

Subjects: English

Introduction to Text Analysis tools

Text analysis tools aid the interpreter asking questions of electronic texts
Geoffrey Rockwell

You can use text analysis tools to automatically extract information from a text or a collection of texts. The tools can help you get a different view of a text, to generate or test hypoteses, to compare two or more texts.

Text analysis tools will let you extract quantitative information about texts, automatically compare and contrast texts, identify and extract information from texts and much more. There are different kinds of tools. Some can be used via an online interface, others can be installed locally on your computer.

Useful links

If you have a text, for example retrieved from a database like ProQuest One Literature, you can run that through a text analysis tool and get information or see patterns that may otherwise be difficult to spot.

Concordance tools - search for a word or phrase and see all instances in your text, displayed with a limited amount of context

  • Antconc - a tool that you install locally and use to explore texts in various ways, for example by creating concordances, word lists and collocations.
  • LexTutor  - a set of tools that you can use on pre-loaded texts or material that you add. Includes a concordance program, word list functions and much more.
  • Taporware (wide range of specialist text analysis tools)

Other tools/sets of different tools

Voyant Tools

Voyant Tools is a web-based text reading and analysis environment. It is a scholarly project that is designed to facilitate reading and interpretive practices for digital humanities students and scholars as well as for the general public.

What you can do with Voyant:

  • Use it to learn how computers-assisted analysis works. Check out our examples that show you how to do real academic tasks with Voyant.
  • Use it to study texts that you find on the web or texts that you have carefully edited and have on your computer.
  • Use it to add functionality to your online collections, journals, blogs or web sites so others can see through your texts with analytical tools.
  • Use it to add interactive evidence to your essays that you publish online. Add interactive panels right into your research essays (if they can be published online) so your readers can recapitulate your results.
  • Use it to develop your own tools using our functionality and code.

Word Class taggers

Word class taggers - a tool that will analyse the words in your text and mark this part of speech.

These are two taggers available for free online:

The CCG POS tagger results look like this, with a key below the extract:

Text used:

Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849:  The Tell-Tale Heart (Penguin Classics)
Cambridge 2011
ProQuest Information and Learning
Penguin Classics