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What is the best free website which allows you to:

  • search large bodies of contemporary texts (e.g. New York Times)
  • find phrases and idioms
  • count word frequencies
  • identify trends in language use over a period of years, etc.
  • user regular expressions in searches

2 Answers 2

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http://www.google.com/?

It helps you with at least:

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  • definitely google can take you far, but I'm looking more for a web app that sits on top of google so that you can (a) use more complex queries such as search for parts of words which Google doesn't allow and using regular expressions such as "\bthe\b(?:(?!\bthe\b).)*\blanguage\b", also a good feature would be to list the results out in customary concordance format (one line per result with the searched-for text running down the middle) instead of in google result format. Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 15:43
  • Also Google cannot be used programmatically! The API has been withdrawn and screen-scraping is against their terms. Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 5:54
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I just found this, exactly what I was looking for:

http://www.americancorpus.org

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