Saturday, December 06, 2008

Word frequency lists

Over the past year, Wiktionary has become my dictionary of choice for online reference. Of course I'm still an OED man when it comes to source material, but as a go-to dictionary, Wiktionary is very good. (My only gripe is that its interface does not play well with my cell phone. In fact it completely sucks, and I can't believe they don't have a better mobile interface.)

Just now I discovered its word frequency lists! Oh yes. These are exactly what I've been looking for. Immediate uses coming to mind include:

  1. Creating "soda water bottle"-type sentences from the TV and Movie Scripts lists that use things like

    • the most frequently used sounds
    • various even distributions of most frequently used sounds
    • new English-like sounds
    • a metalanguage that sounds exactly like English but isn't

  2. Developing the Layman's Story, which utilizes only the top 20 nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs
  3. Eliminating the top 20 nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverb from my vocabulary for a day
  4. Restricting my vocabulary to those words for a... as long as I can tolerate it...

I'll think of more.


skmckinn said...

I do not understand, at all, what you mean by #1.

Digitizdat said...

Really? I actually thought you would, but maybe it's a more obscure thing than I thought. When I was doing community theater many MANY years ago, I was told to whisper "soda water bottle" repeatedly when my character is supposed to be whispering something. It's supposed to sound like you're actually saying something coherent. There's probably a lot of these kinds of sentences, that's just the one I was taught. What did you use?

skmckinn said...

OHHHH. You mean "peas and carrots" phrases. I wonder if that's a regional lexical variation.