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Corpus Analysis of Historical Documents

  1. Kate Tranter

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0246

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Tranter, K. 2012. Corpus Analysis of Historical Documents. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


Historical documents are often used in applied linguistics as a source for studying the structure and use of language in the past. Linguists compile corpora such as the Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers (ARCHER; or the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English (PPCEME, 2004;, using a variety of text types and covering a wide period. They are used for diachronic linguistic studies, to show, for example, lexical or grammatical differences between Early Modern English and present-day English (e.g., Hundt, 2007), or the structure of a particular language variety (e.g., Dollinger, 2008). In this way the analysis of historical corpora contributes to the understanding of earlier forms of a language and of language variety and change.


  • discourse analysis;
  • methods;
  • corpus