Corpus details

British National Corpus

Official name:British National Corpus
Common name:BNC
Language type:written; spoken
Corpus type:general / reference
Period:late twentieth century
Size:100.000.000 words
Description:The British National Corpus (BNC) is a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent a wide cross-section of British English from the later part of the 20th century.
The written part of the BNC (90%) includes, for example, extracts from regional and national newspapers, specialist periodicals and journals for all ages and interests, academic books and popular fiction, published and unpublished letters and memoranda, school and university essays, among many other kinds of text. The spoken part (10%) includes a large amount of unscripted informal conversation, recordeded by volunteers selected from different age, region and social classes in a demographically balanced way, together with spoken language collected in all kinds of different contexts, ranging from formal business or government meetings to radio shows and phone-ins.
Exploration:The BNC can be explored with any program that can deal with text files with XML-codes (like e.g. WordSmith and Wingrep). However, to make optimal use of the corpus, you should use the XML-aware search program Xaira. This program is available on all faculty pc's.
Annotation:part of speech
Fragmentation:text fragments
Sound files:not available
Location:Faculty network, G:\LET\data\Corpora\Engels\BNC
Details:Use of the BNC is restricted to staff and students of the department of Linguistics. Please contact Eric Akkerman for further information.
Contact:e.akkerman at
See Also: 
Name:BNC website
Description:Project website (includes a web based search facility with limited output).
Name:BNC reference guide
Description:Online reference guide to the British National Corpus.
Description:Online search interface for the BNC. Allows word-, phrase- or part-of-speech-based searches of the BNC with genre-restrictions; allows wildcards and fuzzy matches. Context is limited to 80 words. After a number of queries (free) registration is required.
Name:Xaira reference manual
Description:Online reference manual to Xaira. N.B. On the Xaira documentation page you can find links to exercises and a small tutorial on using Xaira to explore the BNC.
Name:BNC Web Indexer
Description:BNC Web Indexer allows you to select according to 14 parameters: register (called "genre") and various demographic criteria. It will output a list of the BNC files to load into Wordsmith or another concordancer. N.B. Registration is not needed.

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