Ad hoc and general-purpose corpus construction from web sources

Abstract : At the beginning of the first chapter the interdisciplinary setting between linguistics, corpus linguistics, and computational linguistics is introduced. Then, the notion of corpus is put into focus. Existing corpus and text definitions are discussed. Several milestones of corpus design are presented, from pre-digital corpora at the end of the 1950s to web corpora in the 2000s and 2010s. The continuities and changes between the linguistic tradition and web native corpora are exposed.In the second chapter, methodological insights on automated text scrutiny in computer science, computational linguistics and natural language processing are presented. The state of the art on text quality assessment and web text filtering exemplifies current interdisciplinary research trends on web texts. Readability studies and automated text classification are used as a paragon of methods to find salient features in order to grasp text characteristics. Text visualization exemplifies corpus processing in the digital humanities framework. As a conclusion, guiding principles for research practice are listed, and reasons are given to find a balance between quantitative analysis and corpus linguistics, in an environment which is spanned by technological innovation and artificial intelligence techniques.Third, current research on web corpora is summarized. I distinguish two main approaches to web document retrieval: restricted retrieval and web crawling. The notion of web corpus preprocessing is introduced and salient steps are discussed. The impact of the preprocessing phase on research results is assessed. I explain why the importance of preprocessing should not be underestimated and why it is an important task for linguists to learn new skills in order to confront the whole data gathering and preprocessing phase.I present my work on web corpus construction in the fourth chapter. My analyses concern two main aspects, first the question of corpus sources (or prequalification), and secondly the problem of including valid, desirable documents in a corpus (or document qualification). Last, I present work on corpus visualization consisting of extracting certain corpus characteristics in order to give indications on corpus contents and quality.
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Adrien Barbaresi. Ad hoc and general-purpose corpus construction from web sources. Linguistics. ENS Lyon, 2015. English. ⟨tel-01167309⟩

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