Corpus linguistics can be approached from different perspectives. In this chapter we will focus on corpora in digital format from a two points of view, focusing first on the impact of disposing of samples of real language use for linguistic analysis and then on the role that corpora play in the area of computational linguistics (CL) and natural language processing (NLP), paying special attention to Spanish language corpora. Digital technologies have led to profound changes in the way research is carried out in the fields of biology, medicine, neuroscience and linguistics. Thanks to the digital revolution, we now have access to samples of real language use for 392the first time, which means that introspection is no longer the only way to test the adequacy of our theoretical postulates.

The Internet is a platform on which all kinds of communicative interactions take place and is therefore an inexhaustible source of information on oral and written language in all modalities and registers: formal, informal, normative and academic. In this chapter, we will deal with the techniques and tools applied to corpora in digital format in order to obtain reliable information on the current and past states of the Spanish language. In this way, we will see how, through CL and NLP, corpus linguistics has widened the scope of the study of language, which is currently perceived within the broader framework of human communications rather than as simple formal algebra.