CONC : A Concordance Generator


  1. Introduction
  2. Getting Started
  3. The Basic CONC Working Environment
  4. Display Adjustments
  5. Preparing and Loading a New Flat Text for Concording
  6. Specialized Options for Controlling CONC Operations
  7. Output
  8. Additional Help
  9. A Note on CONC Development


CONC 1.76 is a free Macintosh program downloadable from the Summer Institute of Linguistics. It is designed for the intensive study of a text by producing what is called a concordance. (A concordance is an alphabetical list of all the words occurring in the text, including every separate occurence of the word. Each occurrence is set in a short section of the text preceding and following it). In addition, CONC can do some simple statistical studies of a text, such as counting the number of occurences of words that match a pattern.

CONC comes loaded with a demonstration text, the first chapter of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." The sample operations listed in this quick guide are based on this text. You can load both interlinear texts (texts with controlled-format annotations) and flat texts (the prepared output of popular word processors, for example). This quick guide covers working with a preloaded text as well as preparing and loading a new flat text file. See pp.3-4 of the CONC manual for further information on the preparation of interlinear texts for concording. Refer to Text Processing Tools Available at LETRS for information on other textual analysis software at LETRS.

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Getting Started

1) Open CONC, and dismiss the message that appears by clicking on it.

2) Select the OPEN command from the FILE menu.

3) Select ALICE from the list of folders displayed. Select ALICE1.TXT from the resulting list of ALICE files displayed. This is the sample text loaded for familiarization purposes. After selecting it, you will then be in the basic CONC working environment.

Note: Normally, CONC does not support having more than one document open at a time. Opening a document will close any previously opened document. (For a specific exception to this, see the use of the APPEND command from the FILE menu on p.18 of the CONC manual.)

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The Basic CONC Working Environment

CONC has three working windows that can be simultaneously opened for use in analysis. These are the text window, the concordance window, and the index window. To build a concordance, select WORD CONCORDANCE from the BUILD menu. To build an index based on this concordance, select INDEX from the BUILD menu.

A.) The text window displays the original text which was loaded for concording.

B.) The concordance window displays the alphabetical list of all the words and their individual occurences in the text, as well as a reference number (for page, line etc.) at the left for the word's location in the text. Here is a shortened version of the concordance window as you will see it upon first building a concordance for ALICE.TXT.

37 not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found
41 she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going
53 wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the

C.) The index window shows an index, with each word listed only once, followed by the number of its occurences in the text and a list of its reference numbers. Here are the first three lines you will see in the index window when it first opens:

about (8) 37, 41, 53, 63, 113, 119, 137, 157
across (2) 27, 29
actually (1) 25

Note: The index window may first appear superimposed on the others. All the windows can be moved and resized according to the standard Mac procedure. The TILE WINDOWS command from the WINDOWS menu will neatly resize all three windows so that the entire screen is divided evenly between them.

You can interact with CONC using any of the three windows. When you rapidly type in a word to be searched, or click on a word in any window, the rest of the windows will scroll to the appropriate places. When you click on a word occurence in the concordance window for example, CONC automatically scrolls the text window to show the corresponding point in the full text, and highlights the word itself. The index window also adjusts to show the selected word.

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Display Adjustments

You can use the FONT menu to alter the size and font of text in any of the windows. CONC wraps long lines by default to fit the original size of the window.

If the window is later resized or a font change is made, the command SET WRAP LENGTH from the LAYOUT menu will reformat the text to fit in the window.The exact way information is displayed is controlled by the dialog box brought up by the DISPLAY command on the LAYOUT menu. See pp.13-16 of the CONC manual for a fuller discussion of options.

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Preparing and Loading a New Flat Text for Concording

A text file suitable for use with CONC can be easily produced from text created by any word processor. Simply choose the TEXT ONLY (or a similar) option from the SAVE AS command on the FILE menu of the word processor you are using. This saves the text as a CONC-readable ASCII file.

Note: Restrict carriage or hard returns to the ends of paragraphs, not individual lines.

WARNING!: do not save this version for CONC use with the same name as your original document. You will wipe out whatever layout and formatting work you may have done previously.

CONC's default referencing scheme (done automatically, you do not need to do anything) is to use the number of the line where the keyword is. See pp.22-25 of the CONC manual for more details about proper procedures for dealing with blank lines, and for the optional use of user-defined references, SIL standard format markers as references, and declaring word separation characters.

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Specialized Options for Controlling CONC Operations

CONC has several specialized options for saving memory and time or fine tuning the direction of your work, particularly if a complete concordance of all the words in the work is not desired. See pp.27-48 of the CONC manual for detailed information and commands about such CONC features as specifying words to omit, searching by individual letters, wildcard searches, specifying words to include, pattern matching, progressively restricting word inclusion, partial concordances, choosing words from a particular field, sorting, and the use of secondary search fields.

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WARNING!: Results files produced in CONC can be very large, perhaps ten times the size of an original text file. Always check with a LETRS consultant before any output operation!

A completed concordance, with all set options, and the text itself can be saved or printed out using the SAVE and SAVE AS or PRINT commands from the FILE menu. You can also create a plain text version of a text, a concordance or an index (or the selected part of one) using the EXPORT commands on the FILE menu. PRINT SELECT and EXPORT SELECT will perform the appropriate functions on the highlighted part of the text in the window currently active. See the detailed output instructions on p.18 of the CONC manual for further guidance.

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Additional Help

At present, CONC does not have an online HELP function. A good source for quick help can be found in Chapter Eight (pp.58-64) of the CONC manual, which gives capsule summaries of all the main menus and commands. A good CONC tutorial is available from the Summer Institute of Linguistics.

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A Note on CONC Development

CONC 1.76 may have a few remaining bugs that have not been eliminated by earlier versions. If an error message, unexpected quitting, or any other kind of interruption of normal CONC operations takes place, check with a LETRS consultant for help in determining whether a true bug in CONC or other factors such as low memory are responsible.

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Last Updated: 05/30/97
Comments: Library Electronic Text Resource Service /
Indiana University