Background - The Prime Machine

The Prime Machine
Go to content



The Prime Machine is a user-friendly corpus tool for English language teaching, linguistic analysis and self-tutoring based on the Lexical Priming theory of language; the software was developed by Stephen Jeaco.

My doctoral thesis explains some of the pedagogical rational for the development of The Prime Machine, as well as some technical details and an evaluation.
Jeaco, S. (2015). The Prime Machine: a user-friendly corpus tool for English language teaching and self-tutoring based on the Lexical Priming theory of language. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Liverpool.
Available for immediate download from:

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.  

Dr Stephen Jeaco, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Linguistics, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China.

Background to the software
Back to content