A concordance is considered the single most important tool available to the corpus linguist (McEnery and Hardie 2012). It enables retrieving evidence from a corpus displayed one-example-per-line format with the context before and after each example.
A concordancer for the Arabic Quran was designed, implemented and made available on-line. The figure below shows a screenshot of a sample concordance lines for the input word “كتاب”/kitab or “book”.
Note that although the user inputs a surface word in un-vocalized Arabic plain text, there are a number of background processing is done where: a) a search is made on all instances of this word in an un-vowelized version of the Quran, and b) for each found word the corresponding lemma or root word –whichever is present- is taken from Quranic Arabic Corpus (QAC) as the target examples, and c) finally, the instanced are rendered through the website.
Following are some features of this custom made application.
- QurConcord is rendered online using PHP scripting language MySQL backend database.
- The online page is designed using PHP scripting language and query word is embedded in the URL link, enabling getting data through URL.
- QurConcord brings 8 words before and after the query word
- The results are sorted based on increasing order of Quranic chapter numbers.
- Quranic reference is associated with each example as a link that leads to the corresponding verse page at Quranic Arabic Corpus (QAC).
- Each focus word in depicted in bold, and on pointing over by mouse a detailed morphological description is shown as a tooltip box, as shown in the figure above.
- Each word in an example line can be pointed at by mouse to reveal its POS taken from QAC.
- Each work in an example line can be clicked to reveal the concordance line of this word.
To the best of our knowledge, no custom made concordancer for the Quran exists today. QurConcord can be very useful tool in the hand of Quranic linguistic researchers. For example, in the process of designing ‘frame semantics’ (Fillmore 1976), a concordancer helps in discovering the various frame elements. Consider for example the following table, where few representative concordance lines for this verb from the Quran (Muhammad and Atwell 2009), rendered after translation. We notice that, apart from the ‘ingestion of food’ sense of the word ‘eat’, Quran also refers to figurative sense of ‘eating money unlawfully’ as in example B.
Fillmore, C. (1976). “Frame Semantics and the nature of language.” Annals of the New York Academy of Science.
Hardie, A (forthcoming) "CQPweb - combining power, flexibility and usability in a corpus analysis tool".
McEnery, T. and Hardie, A. (2012). Corpus Linguistics: Method, Theory and Practice. Cambridge Press.
Muhammad, A. and Atwell, E. (2009) A Corpus-based computational model for knowledge representation of the Qur'an. 5th Corpus Linguistics Conference, Liverpool.