Using Corpus to Study History of Words

2019. № 2, 58-68

Svetlana O. Savchuk, Vinogradov Russian Language Institute (Russian Academy of Sciences) (Russia, Moscow),


The Russian National Corpus has a large volume and includes texts from various historical periods. Therefore, based on the corpus data one can perform microdiachronic studies by analyzing contexts of words and registering changes in their meanings. Thanks to its great volume and to linguistic markup that makes it possible to quickly fi nd words and word forms, the corpus becomes an indispensable lexicographer’s tool by providing access to numerous examples that help better describe the shades of the words’ meanings and the rules for their use. Still, this task may become too complex when there are too many examples in the corpus. There are useful tools available in the corpus that can greatly help researchers to analyze contexts and extract the necessary information in such cases. The article illustrates
(with specifi c examples) the use of two formats of context representation: the ordinary format and the KWIC format (Key Word in Context). The “Settings” menu is described in detail, including such settings as order of examples, output format, number of documents per page, number of examples per document, number of words in KWIC context. These settings can greatly facilitate the process of browsing through examples.