Friday Tech Talk on Word And Phrase

On February 23, 2018, members of the University of Arizona Corpus Lab, Dr. Shelley Staples and Adriana Picoral, held a Friday Tech Talk demonstrating the Word And Phrase application.   The focus of these weekly talks, which are organized by the iSpace at University of Arizona, is on eliciting conversations around different types of digital tools. The targeted tool for this workshop (Word and Phrase) pulls data from the BYU Corpora (in English, Spanish, and Portuguese), allowing users to search new and pre-existing texts, color coding each word based on its frequency.  There are three frequency ranges that the application searches for based on word usage within the corpora; 1-500 (blue), 501-3000 (green), and >3000 (yellow).  

(Academic text sample color-coded by word frequency.)

Word frequency can also be separated by genre: Spoken, Fiction, Magazine, Newspaper, and Academic.  This feature allows instructors to illustrate to their students which types of speech appear in which genres; for example the pronoun ‘I’ is found more frequently in Spoken and Fiction genres, as opposed to Academic writing where it is least likely to be used.  The application identifies the part of speech, ranking, frequency, collocates, and synonyms for each word within the top 3000 words frequency range; Word and Phrase allows students to explore when and how to use specific words or phrases based on information from the BYU corpora as well as other resources (such as Wordnet).

(Frequency of the pronoun ‘I’ across genres.)

(Ranking and frequency of the word ‘say’ as each possible PoS (Part of Speech).)

(Concordance lines of the word ‘tell’ as collocations, providing definition, PoS, and synonyms.)

Participants gave positive feedback on synonyms provided by the word search tool, where more and less frequent synonyms to the search word are displayed with some information on meaning variation provided. They also noted that with these tools, students are able to access the program on their own for autonomous learning.

Here’s our handout on using Word And Phrase.

For information on other Tech Talks organized by the iSpace at University of Arizona, please visit

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