WebCorp Linguist's Search Engine

Lead Research Organisation: Birmingham City University
Department Name: PME Sch of English

Abstract

Linguists, language engineers, teachers and students are increasingly trying to use the World Wide Web as a source of linguistic information to supplement the information on language use in existing dictionaries and text collections. In particular, they are interested in investigating the latest coinages and usages, as well as the continued existence of rare or theoretically obsolete usage. However, linguists currently have to use Google and other commercial search engines to achieve this, systems which are not geared to the specialised type of search and analysis. This proposal seeks to work on the design and implementation of a large-scale specialist search engine which will be integrated with a range of language-analysis and output-formatting tools to create a resource that improves significantly on the current research situation both in terms of performance and usability. That is to say, this will be a regular search engine, but it will be linguistically-tailored in the following ways: firstly, targeted subsets of the web will be downloaded; secondly, the data will be available as a series of texts and lines of context, but will also be processed into secondary linguistic databases containing information such as new words and typical word patterns; and thirdly, the search results will be offered in a range of familiar formats specifiable by the linguist, which make both study and publication more convenient.1,435 characters

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