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Requirements engineering's continuing dependence on natural language description has made it the focus of several efforts to apply language engineering techniques. The raw textual material that forms an input to early phase requirements engineering and which informs the subsequent formulation of the requirements is inevitably uncontrolled and this makes its processing very hard. Nevertheless, sufficiently robust techniques do exist that can be used to aid the requirements engineer provided that the scope of what can be achieved is understood. In this paper, we show how combinations of lexical and shallow semantic analysis techniques developed from corpus linguistics can help human analysts acquire the deep understanding needed as the first step towards the synthesis of requirements.