AntConc and Arabic Texts

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Ahmad Haider

Nov 28, 2013, 12:05:31 AM11/28/13

Dear Prof. Anthony,

I am eagerly waiting to have the new version of Antconc that will be hopefully available by Dec.

I am currently using both AntConc 3.2.4w and 3.3.5w to analyse both English and Arabic Texts. All features work good till now when utilising them with English corpora.

However, though I am using UTF-8 as character encoding to stabilise the rendering of Arabic texts, I am still having some problems in most tools.

Could you kindly please take the following observations into consideration for the coming version of AntrConc?


·         When trying to derive frequency list for clusters of words using N-grams with the size of (2-2) for example in AntConc 3.3.5 W, the words don’t appear in the correct order as in the example below:


 “الولايات المتحدة " appears as "المتحدة الولايات”  

لشرق الاوسط”  appears as  "الاوسط الشرق

Accordingly, I tried to use the oldest version of AntConc 3.2.4 W (UTF-8 ) , and everything worked out good regarding the word order. So what’s wrong with 3.3.5 W?


·         In the latest two versions ( 3.2.4 and 3.3.)When trying to click the word when the hand cursor appears, the word turns out to be scattered as in the example below:


(نحن) changes into (نح ن) when putting the hand cursor on ...


·         When trying to investigate a term using the concordance tool, the “node word” that is supposed to be in centre of the screen in blue doesn’t appear in the same position for all incidents. I mean that they don’t appear in the same column as they do when processing English texts.  as in the example below:
                                     Middle                  لشرق الاوسط
                                     Middle                              لشرق الاوسط
                                      Middle                         لشرق الاوسط


·         Another problem I faced while carrying out a concordance analysis is related to the word order of the results before and after the “nod word” where the line appears in a scattered way; the first word appears in the middle ,the last one at the beginning and so on . The same thing is applicable for file view.


What looks interesting and exciting is that the next version of AntConc will handle right-to-left languages. I also suggest that you may make use of some of the language packs that are offered by Microsoft office since , for example, in the case of Arabic language Microsoft Word is fascinating and we rarely face any problems while using it.


Your dedication and generosity with your time are greatly appreciated.
Best Regards,



Laurence Anthony

Nov 28, 2013, 12:34:08 AM11/28/13
Dear Ahmad,

Thank you for the comments. Both AntConc 3.2.4 and 3.3.5 were not designed to handle right-to-left languages. In fact, the graphics engines I used, didn't support them at all. However, it seems that the old 3.2.4 version rendered some right-to-left text correctly just by chance. Maybe 3.3.5 doesn't work as well, because it makes more assumptions about word order. Another problem could be the graphics engine. 3.2.4 was built on one very old engine and 3.3.5 was built on a slightly newer one. However, essentially they are the same.  In fact, the poor results I got with the graphics engine in 3.3.5 has been the main reason to make the change to a completely new programming language and graphics engine.

In the new version coming soon, the graphics engine supports right-to-left languages properly, which is why I can now offer support for them. I am very interested in getting AntConc to handle Arabic texts correctly, and in fact, it was one of the other main reasons to make a big change in the programming language I use. As I don't know Arabic at all, I look forward to your comments on the software when it is released.


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Ahmad Haider

Dec 2, 2013, 7:27:14 PM12/2/13
I am just wondering when the new software is going to be released. I have heard that it will be ready by Dec. 1st, and to be honest, the first thing I do when I arrive my office is to check whether the software has been relaesed or not..

Laurence Anthony

Dec 2, 2013, 8:28:44 PM12/2/13
Hi Ahmad,

I'm getting there. I have a plenary workshop to give this Friday and I hoped to have it ready by then. But, it looks like I'm not going to make it quite so quickly. I'm going to need a few more days. The problem is that I also have two talks to give later this month and I might need to prepare for them. So, don't hold your breath.

Saying that, I now have the entire interface completed and the most difficult parts of the engine are working. It's going to look surprisingly similar to the current version (which is good), but will run completely differently underneath the interface.

I have realized that I'll probably need some feedback to get the right-to-left features working correctly. So, I'll probably release an alpha version first and only announce that here.

Thanks for the great support. It really motivates me to keep coding!


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