Search TED Talks for words and phrases using the TED Corpus Search Engine

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 2.37.54 PM

There are a number of great corpus tools online that you can use to explore word usage including collocations, frequency, and genre. Most of these corpora reply on text results which can be a bit limiting when working with language students. Thankfully, the TED Corpus Search Engine (TCSE) fills in a bit of that gap. While it is limited to the transcripts of TED talks as its database, it can be very helpful for language students who can see and hear the lexical items in context. It also has a few nice twists to it that make it a bit more useful in the language classroom. Here is a simply guide to using the main features of the TCSE, although it can do more than what I am explaining here.

Main Search

  • Go to yohasebe.com/tcse/
  • Enter a word into the Input text and press Search box and then click on SEARCH.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 2.47.37 PM.png

  • You will now be presented with a list of the results of your search.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 2.49.09 PM.png

  • Clicking on the ID number, Line number, or Time marker will take you to a summary of the video that contains that sentence. Notice that it also gives you a Words per minute result as well as a Readability score. Click the x in the top-right corner to leave this summary.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 2.50.19 PM.png

  • Click on the Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 2.54.33 PMstack button and you will open a new window showing a full transcript of the talk with that sentence highlighted in red.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 2.54.00 PM.png

  • Go back to your search results and click on the Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 2.56.33 PM.pngplay button will take you to the video. Click on the image at the top to start the video from the position of that particular sentence. You can click on the video to pause / play the video as you see the text scroll in the transcript. There are a few controls in the bottom-right corner that you can play with as well.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 2.57.40 PM.png

  • Return to your search results and click on the paperclipScreen Shot 2018-04-02 at 3.00.04 PM.png button to get a direct URL to this sentence result. Click the x in the top-right corner to leave this box.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 3.01.08 PM.png

  • Click on the sentence and a new window will open showing you a more detailed breakdown of the sentence including frequency of each word, part of speech, tense, and voice.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 3.02.48 PM.png

N-gram Search

  • Go to yohasebe.com/tcse/ and click on N-gram.
  • Enter a word into the Input text and press Search box and then click on SEARCH.
  • You will be given a page of results.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 3.06.18 PM.png

  • 1-gram: This shows all of the single uses of this word including part of speech (POS), frequency, and number of talks using that word in that form. [Note: go here for a list of the POS tags and what they mean]
  • 2-gram (3-gram, 4-gram): This shows a list of the word combinations with that word in different places. For example, you will find these on the list: “other hand” (second word position) or “hand over” (first position).

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 3.09.03 PM.png

  • Click on any of the results and it will take you to a main search with that phrase or word.

Construction Search

  • Go to yohasebe.com/tcse/ and click on Const.
  • Enter a word into the Input text and press Search box and then click on SEARCH.
  • You will be given a page of results.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 3.14.56 PM.png

  • Find the construction you would like to search and click on the phrase to be taken to the main search.

Usage:

  • Use in class to demonstrate the lexical item in context.
  • Find how a particular word is used and where it may cause confusion for language learners.
  • Students can use on their own as a way of finding vocabulary usage in context.
  • Use N-grams to find collocations.
  • Use Constructions to see idiomatic phrases and phrasal verbs.
  • Find out how common a word is by using the frequency list.
  • Use the transcripts to locate difficult items to pre-teach before listening.
  • Hyperlink words in a text to give students a direct link to the word in context.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s