Corpus as a Tool in Language Use
21st century is the age of globalization and with the rapid growth of science and technology, it is becoming the part and parcel of our day to day life and its influence has permeated into all facets of our lives including language use and variation. In recent years, a lot of research has been done to know how computers can facilitate language learning. One of the most exciting developments in the exploration of language has been the accretion of methodically compiled language data or corpora. Corpus refers to a large collection of electronic texts which represent a sample of a particular variety of use of language. These collections of authentic written and spoken language have been illuminating in virtually all branches of linguistics. In this research paper, we will explore how corpora act as a tool in understanding or studying language use. It is an approach that has developed over the past few decades to support empirical investigation of language variation and use. The paper will throw light on how corpora are influencing recent trends in linguistic research and provides a more objective view of language; as corpus based analysis can investigate almost any language patterns- lexical, structural, lexico-grammatical, discourse, phonological, morphological- often with very specific agendas. With proper analytical tools a learner can discover not only the patterns of language use, but the extent to which they are used. The main aim of corpus based analysis is not to generate theories of what is possible in the language but to discover patterns of authentic language use through analysis of actual usage. The paper is concerned about the usage patterns of the empirical data and what that reveals to us about language behavior.
Keywords - Corpora, Language Variation, Corpus-based Linguistics.