NLTK Corpus

In the previous NLTK tutorial, you learned what frequency distribution is. Now, you will learn how what a corpus is and how to use it with NLTK.

What is a Corpus?

Corpus is a collection of written texts and corpora is the plural of corpus. In NLTK, you have some corpora included like Gutenberg Corpus, Web and Chat Text and so on.

Using Corpora in NLTK

In this example, you are going to use Gutenberg Corpus. To import it, create a new file and type:

So this corpus has different txt txt files which contain different texts. If you want to see all the texts that this corpus has, you can say

and it will return a list like in the image below.

List of corpora

So you can see that this corpus has texts like Hamlet, Macbeth and a novel of Milton.

Let’s say that you want to access the file shakespeare-macbeth.txt  and see what words the text have. To do this, you can use the words  method. So in your code type:

As you can see, the words  method receives the file id as its parameter. So if you want to access Milton’s novel, for example, you can type gt.words("milton-paradise.txt")  .

If you run this code now, you will get a list of all the words of the text as your output like in the image below.

List of words in a corpus

Another important function is the raw  function. What it does is it returns the whole text without doing any linguistic processing. If you type

and execute your code, you can see that it returns you the raw text.

Let’s say that now you want to see the sentences your text has. You can use the sents  function. So in your code type

and this will return you a list of all the sentences your text has.

You can use those functions to do more elaborate things. If you want for example see the number of words and sentences in all of the texts present in your corpus, you can say:

and it will give you an output like in the image below.

Output of a function

Loading your own corpus

Now that you learned what is a corpus, you will learn how to load your own corpus.

To do this, you need a corpus reader so create a new file named loading-your-own-corpus.py  with the following lines.

The first import statement is for the PlainTextCorpusReader  class, that will be your corpus reader, and the second is for the os  module. The os  module will give the PlainTextCorpusReader  the path of the files you want to load.

To continue, download the play Taming of the Shrew in this link and place it in the same directory of your Python file.

After you download the play, create an object of PlainTextCorpusReader  with the following lines:

As you can see, PlainTextCorpusReader  expects two inputs in its constructor. The first one is corpus_root  and the second one is the file_ids  . The corpus_root  is the path of your files and the file_ids  are the name of the files.

To get the path of your files, you can use the getcwd  method of os  module. Note that we add a /  in the path. In the file_id , we use a RegEx expression to fetch all the files that you want. In our example, we want all files that have the .txt extension.

As this object returns you a corpus object, you can use the same functions you used in the previous section. So if you want to see the words in the text, for example, you can use:

This is all for this tutorial. If you have any question, feel free to leave it in the comments below.

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