The Prime Machine free concordancer for DDL/UG linguistic research (English)

Dear All,

Those working with language learners and linguistics/English majors may be interested to know that The Prime Machine has now been publically released.

It is a learner-friendly Windows app, drawing on ready-made online corpora or small DIY corpora.

It runs on Windows XP - Windows 10, and it is now available from its new website (, from 360 Store (China) and from the Microsoft Store (Windows 10 users only). Search for "The Prime Machine" (don't forget to use "The").

Wherever you get it, it is free.

It probably best suits language learners and undergraduate students who are getting started with DDL and concordancing, and it is hoped it adds an extra choice to the tools already available elsewhere. There are a range of moderately-sized ready-made corpora, including the subcorpora from the BNC, some fiction collections and collections of open academic journals.

The server is based in Suzhou, China.

Best wishes,

Stephen Jeaco
Dear all,

The new version of The Prime Machine (3.0.12.x) should now connect. The problem with the version I announced last week was that the initial connection test was too sensitive for people connecting from a great distance (or with a less direct connection) to the server in Suzhou.

To use it right now, you will need to download this new version from the website (ZIP or installer). If you want to get the new version from the Microsoft Store or the Store, it will take a day or two for those store versions to be updated. Check the release date to see if they are after 3 June 2018. The update to Microsoft Store is currently at the “certification” stage, and hopefully all will go smoothly for publishing there by the end of the week. It is the first update I’ve submitted to, but usually they are pretty fast to respond.

Many thanks to the European-based users who tried it out and helped me diagnose the problem. Also thanks to the colleagues here in China (it was great meeting those of you at CLIC, Wuhan last weekend).

Probably the best way to share comments/suggestions/feature requests with me is via my own email or through the feedback available (link from the main website:

Best wishes,

Dear all,

Version 3.14 of The Prime Machine was released recently; it has been on the website ( and the Microsoft Store for about 2 weeks now. It has just been released on

Wherever you get it, it is free.

The new version is much much faster for working with DIY corpus texts (compared to version 3.12). It also now connects using port 443 (so there should be fewer problems with connecting from public networks where some ports are blocked). There are several other new features; you can see more details in the Version History on the website.

(I have now started work on a MacOS version, but this will take me some time. With a bit of luck I might have that ready after next Spring Festival.)

As always, please do send me feedback and suggestions. There is a suggestion link on the website (or you can email me by looking up my name on the XJTLU website).

Best wishes,

The Prime Machine Version 3.0.20.x is now available from the website, from Microsoft Store and soon to be updated on

The Prime Machine is an English language learning, teaching and research tool, designed to provide users with a multitude of examples from corpus texts and additional information about the contextual environment in which words and combinations of words occur. It is a client-server app, allowing you to search from a range of pre-prepared English language corpora. Users can type in words or phrases and view concordance lines and other corpus data. It has research tools for more advanced concordancing, and there are also DIY corpus tools allowing small collections of your own English texts to be analysed and compared with the ready-made online corpora. The software runs on Windows (Windows XP and above), and is a 32 bit application. MacOS and Windows HD versions are currently in advanced stages of development. Trimmed down versions for tablets and smart phones are also in the pipeline.

The Prime Machine was initially developed with language learners and teachers in mind. You can use it to find examples of real language use (also called naturally occurring language). It has also been further developed to offer a good range of tools for English majors and students studying linguistics or TESOL to use for corpus research projects. The patterns and summary information of features of Lexical Priming can be used to compare specific instances of English language use (perhaps an expression in an English learner text or a test item, or creative uses of language in speeches, articles or literary extracts) against patterns representing a norm in one of the ready-made online corpora. For example, a combination of words found in a single text outside the corpus can be compared with patterns of collocation and co-text of these words in a corpus of similar text types. The “art” of a sentence from a novel not in the corpus can be explored to see how some patterns in the sentence follow conventions found in similar text types, while other features of the patterns deviate from norms. Projects may also involve the construction of new corpora. Typical DIY corpus projects may focus on the exploration of differences between genres/registers, the exploration of different authors’ styles as well as differences in English translations (corpus stylistics) or the exploration of vocabulary and language patterns for English language teaching materials for a specific subject discipline.

Prime Machine Version 3.0.20.x现在可以从网站、Microsoft Store上下载 (360.cn再等一会!)。

The Prime Machine语料库检索软件是一款帮助英语语言学习,教学和研究的工具。语言学习者可以通过此软件查询单词及其常用搭配的实例。此软件基于客户端-服务器(C/S),您可以在预存于此软件中的语料库搜索。您可以输入单词或短语,以查询索引行和其他语料库数据。
它还包含更多的较高级的语言检索功能。您还可以通过DIY 语料库这一功能,将您自己收集到的英语文本和软件中现存的线上语料库进行对比和分析。此软件目前可在Windows 32位系统上使用(Windows XP及其以上版本),在MacOS及Windows HD系统目前已进入后期研发阶段。此软件在平板电脑和手机的下载和使用目前也正在筹备当中。

The Prime Machine 在开发过程中首先充分考虑了语言学习者和老师的需求。 您可以使 用它来查找语言使用的示例。同时,此软件还为英语专业,语言学专业,对外英语教学专业的学生提供大量不同种类的分析工具,以帮助他们完成以语料库为基础的研究项目。词汇触发理论(Lexical Priming theory)中的模式和结构可以帮助对比呈现出某英语语言使用的实例(其中包括但不局限于一种英语表达在语言学习者的作文和考试情况下的使用,或者是演讲,文章及文学作品当中的语言使用)与现存的网络语料库中的此类英语表达的惯例的异同。例如,在分析某些不包含在语料库的文章中的词组时,可以通过分析包含相同体裁文本的语料库,来找到这些词组的固定搭配和经常出现的语境。比如“句子的艺术”这一词组在某一小说中出现,此小说并不包含在现存的语料库里。此时可以通过分析语料库中的相同体裁文本,找到这一词组的固定搭配,及经常出现的上下文语境。DIY语料库工具还可能帮助您去发现体裁和语域的区别,不同作者的风格区别,以及英语语言教学材料中对于某一主题其单词和语言的选择和使用的模式。