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What is Corpus in NLP?

A corpus in NLP can be a valuable asset for businesses, offering a wide range of benefits in customer understanding and market intelligence, ultimately leading to improved competitiveness and success. In this blog, we will explore how corpus-based research has helped the development of sophisticated language models and applications, contributing to the exponential growth and diversification of NLP technologies.

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What is Corpus in NLP?

A corpus is a significant collection of texts written in everyday language that computers can read. When you have more than one, they’re called ‘corpora.’ People make them from things like digital text, audio transcripts, and even scanned documents. Corpora are really important for studying and understanding how language is used in real life, just like people talk and write every day.

Why Do We Need Corpus in NLP?

A corpus is an essential tool for Natural Language Processing (NLP), serving as a fundamental resource. A corpus is a significant, organized collection of text or audio data that often includes a wide range of documents, texts, or voices in one or more specific languages. Here are some points that show why the corpus is important in NLP:

  • Training Machine Learning Models: For a variety of NLP applications, including sentiment analysis, text classification, machine translation, and speech recognition, corpora are used to train and refine machine learning models. The massive amount of text data in the corpus is used to teach these models patterns, correlations, and complexities.
  • Language Understanding: Corpora gives a complete picture of the structure, grammar, vocabulary, and usage of a language. To learn how words and phrases are used in context and to generate new languages, NLP models utilize corpora.
  • Rule-Based Systems: Corpora are used by linguists and NLP experts to develop and test linguistic rules and patterns. Then, for tasks like part-of-speech tagging, grammatical processing, and named entity recognition, these rules are used in rule-based NLP systems.
  • Lexicon and Semantics: Lexicons, or dictionaries of words and their meanings, are created and expanded with the help of corpora. By showing word relationships, such as synonyms, antonyms, and word connections, they may help semantic analysis.
  • Statistical Analysis: Corpora are useful for language statistical analysis. They give information that is necessary for probabilistic NLP approaches to examine word frequency distributions, co-occurrence patterns, and other statistical features.
  • Domain-Specific Knowledge: Corpora are a source of domain-specific knowledge since they may be specific to particular topics or fields. Applications like the study of legal documents, the processing of medical records, and chatbots created for particular industries all depend on this.

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Types of Corpora in NLP

Types of Corpora in NLP

In Natural Language Processing (NLP), corpora are categorized into various types based on different criteria, such as content, purpose, or source. Here are some common types of corpora used in NLP:

Text Corpora

  • General-Purpose Corpora: These corpora include a variety of texts from different genres and domains. The Gutenberg Corpus and the Brown Corpus are two examples.
  • Specialized Corpora: These corpora concentrate on certain domains or subjects, including scientific literature, legal records, or medical materials. They are intended for jobs requiring domain-specific NLP.
  • Comparable Corpora: Comparable corpora are collections of texts with a similar substance that are written in different languages or from various sources. For cross-lingual or cross-domain research, they are frequently used.

Multimodal Corpora

  • Text-Image Corpora: These corpora contain both textual and visual information, making them appropriate for jobs like captioning pictures and answering visual questions.
  • Text-Speech Corpora: These databases combine textual information with related audio or speech recordings to support studies in spoken language comprehension and automatic speech recognition.

Parallel Corpora

  • Bilingual Corpora: These include translated texts that are available in two or more languages. Both cross-lingual research and machine translation depend on them.
  • Comparable Bilingual Corpora: These are useful for cross-lingual information retrieval because they are similar to parallel corpora because they contain texts in many languages that are about the same subject or domain.

Time-Series Corpora

  • Historical Corpora: These corpora, which include writings from many historical periods, allow scholars to look at the evolution of language and historical patterns.
  • Temporal Corpora: They preserve texts over time, which makes them valuable for observing linguistic evolution and researching the current state of the language.

Annotated Corpora

  • Linguistically Annotated Corpora: They are included in the list of comments. These corpora contain linguistic annotations such as part-of-speech tags, grammatical parses, and named entity annotations that are done by hand. They are necessary for developing and testing NLP models.
  • Sentiment-Annotated Corpora: These corpora’s texts have sentiment or emotion information labeled, which makes sentiment analysis and emotion detection tasks easier.

These are just a few examples of the types of corpora used in NLP. The choice of corpus depends on the specific NLP task, research goals, and the domain of application. Researchers and practitioners often create custom corpora to suit their needs in various NLP projects.

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Features of Corpus in NLP

Types of Corpora in NLP

The features of a corpus in NLP make it super useful for all sorts of language-related tasks and research. Here are some of the important features of an NLP corpus:

  • Large Corpus Size: In general, a corpus size should be as large as possible. Large-scale specialized datasets are essential for the training of algorithms that carry out sentiment analysis.
  • High-Quality Data: When it comes to the data in a corpus, high quality is essential. Even the smallest inaccuracies in the training data might result in significant faults in the output of the machine learning system.
  • Clean Data: Building and maintaining a high-quality corpus depends on clean data. To produce a more reliable corpus for NLP, data purification is essential, as it locates and eliminates any errors or duplicate data.
  • Diversity: Diverse categories, records, languages, and themes are all part of the wide range of linguistic diversity that corpora attempt to represent. Because of this variability, NLP models and algorithms are capable of handling a wide range of linguistic variants.
  • Annotation: Language-specific annotations, such as part-of-speech tags, grammatical parses, named entities, sentiment labels, or semantic annotations, are included in many corpora. These annotations help supervise machine learning and particular NLP tasks.
  • Metadata: Header information about the texts, such as author names, publication dates, source details, and document names, is often present in corpora. To provide context and origin, metadata is essential.

Elements of Corpus Design

Elements of Corpus Design

It takes careful planning and consideration of many factors when creating a corpus for natural language processing (NLP). To make sure the corpus is appropriate for the intended research or application, the following are the main components of corpus design:

  • Text Sampling
    • In order to make sure that the corpus reflects the appropriate language diversity, choose a representative and systematic selection technique.
    • Think about whether texts will be chosen at random, on purpose, or through stratified sampling.
  • Corpus Size and Balance
    • Determine the appropriate corpus size while considering computational capabilities and research objectives.
    • Make sure the corpus has a diverse range of language attributes, including rare or uncommon events.
  • Text Annotation
    • Choose the appropriate level of linguistic annotation, which may involve part-of-speech tagging, grammatical sorting, named entity recognition, sentiment analysis, or semantic annotation.
    • Decide whether collaboration, semi-automatic, or manual annotation will be used.

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Examples of Corpus in NLP

There are different types of corpora that are used in natural language processing (NLP), and each is designed for a particular linguistic research, machine learning, or computational language processing application. Some examples of corpora in NLP are given below:

  • PennTreebank
    • Type: Corpus with linguistic annotations
    • Description: The Penn Treebank is an extensive collection of sentences that have been processed from sources like the Wall Street Journal. It is used for developing and evaluating analyzers and contains grammatical and part-of-speech annotations.
  • WordNet
    • Type: Corpus of lexical resources
    • Description: WordNet is a lexical database that organizes words into synsets (sets of synonymous words) and shows the semantic connections between words. It is utilized for a variety of NLP applications, including information retrieval and word sense identification.
  • VerbNet
    • Type: Lexical Resource
    • Description: A lexical database called VerbNet focuses on verbs and their themed functions. According to their grammatical and semantic behavior, it classifies verbs into groups known as verb classes. For a certain group of verbs, each verb class represents common usage patterns and argument structure.
  • GloVe (Global Vectors for Word Representation)
    • Type: Pre-trained word vectors
    • Description: GloVe is a tool that offers pre-trained word embeddings, which identify the semantic connections between words. It is frequently used for sentiment analysis, word similarity, and raising the efficiency of NLP models.

Challenges Faced while Creating a Corpus

It takes a lot of time and resources to build a corpus for natural language processing (NLP), and there are many obstacles to overcome. Following are some typical difficulties faced while creating corpora:

  • Data availability
  • Data’s level of quality
  • The data’s usefulness in terms of quantity
  • Selecting the data type required to address the problem statement


In the world of NLP, corpora are the building blocks. They give us deep insights into language, enabling the development of models for tasks like sentiment analysis and translation. As NLP progresses, diverse and well-structured corpora remain essential, shaping the future of how we understand and interact with language. Corpora will continue to be at the forefront of NLP research, underpinning advancements in language understanding and interaction.

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