I'm looking for some good works of corpus linguistics using the Brown Corpus. Does anyone know of an important early work, and/or an important recent work that uses it?
The Brown corpus, which is a representative 1 M. word sample of 1960s American English, has been used extensively in research on short-term diachronic change. A number of corpora have, over the last one or two decades, been compiled that extend the Brown corpus. There is a 1990s American English corpus (Frown), and a 1960s and a 1990s British English corpus (LOB and F-LOB). Together, these have been called the Brown family of corpora.
Research based on these corpora includes:
- A monograph on change in contemporary English
- Change in parts of speech frequencies
- Recent grammatical change in general
- Verb structures
- The progressive
More recently, 1930s corpora of British and American English have been compiled to add to the historical depth of the Brown family, and work has begun on additional corpora.
The key early works based on the Brown corpus are, of course, Kucera and Francis' 1967 work "Computational Analysis of Present Day American English" and the American Heritage Dictionary. It's greatest long-term impact was in inspiring the creation of other corpora like LOB (Lancaster-Oslo-Bergen) which then led to some innovative work on grammars.
You will find very little use of the Brown corpus in modern corpus linguistics research. There are simply too many far better resources. A modern respectable corpus of written language will start at 100 million tokens (as opposed to Brown's 1 million) and try to go much higher. It is sometimes used for teaching purposes and I still see it used for some basic frequency work in non-specialist works - this is probably in part because of its easy accessibility.