Monday, March 26, 2007

Words, words, words

Caveblogem over at Pretty Good On Paper has been doing a linguistic study of the words in use on the Blogosphere. I think he's done ten so far, tallying up all of the unique words and making word clouds and Venn diagrams using alchemy and something that seems an awful lot like science or math.

He did my blog today. I had to plead with him to include me. I was starting to worry that if I was left out for much longer, I would contribute no words at all to the study, and he would unmask me as a poseur who steals words from other blogs to use as my own.

Here is my Venn diagram (click to embiggen):

He explains it all much better than I could, but I'll give it a try (or you can click here). The big white area on the left are some of the words I used that didn't appear elsewhere. I don't think it's all of them, as he claims I have added 1,332 words to the pool. The center overlap section are words used by all blogs sampled so far, but more frequently by me, and the final area on the right are the words that all of the other sampled blogs used which I did not deign to use myself. Such words, like "history" or "information," are obviously beneath me.

The data comes from a sample of my blog going back to sometime in February (and seems to include some of the Fiction Contest entries as well), so it isn't a complete representation of all words used ever on the site (I'm pretty sure I've used most or all of the ones on the right at some point) but he's a human being, and slogging through endless data would surely kill him. He's been grabbing more or less the same sized chunks from all of the blogs he's done so far.

I've never had a Venn diagram about me before. Isn't it pretty? A little weird that neither "moon" nor "topples" are in there, but perhaps I talk about myself in third-person-pseudonym less than I had thought.

I love that he's doing this, not least because I'm not sure that there is any practical application. He seems to be doing this simply to scratch an itch, to satisfy his curiosity, to learn something. I can really get behind an idea like that.

He's still looking for subjects, so pop on over and sign up. Be warned, though. He's restricting these to one per week from now on, so if you all rush him at once, there'll be a bit of a wait.

Oh, and you may not have caught it, but the title of this post comes from Hamlet. Polonious says it. Ain't I literate and shit?


heartinsanfrancisco said...

Eliza Doolittle says it, too. Sings it, even, to 'enry 'iggins.

"Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words. Is that all you blighters can do?"

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

So nobody else has used the word 'summer'? Or 'weather'? Maybe I'm missing something here... it's cute though.

Anna MR said...

I have Venn diagram envy.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Topples,

I can explain the absence of the words Moon and Topples. The reason it is not in your cloud (and the one on the left side of the Venn diagram) is because you were not the only one to use these words. My blog was the first to go in the pool, and since I was trying to get people to participate in your writing contest I used the words several times. They aren't in the middle part of the Venn because not every blog used them. They aren't in the right hand side because you used them. Toppling made it, though, I see.

So although I make tons of careless mistakes (I screwed up my link to your blog in my post--corrected now) this was not one of those.

The more I look at your cloud the more interesting it seems to me. Lots of interesting and pleasant words. And then there are words like "lardy." Did that come from one of the stories? MS Word must have thought it was a words describing something slathered with lard, but I suspect it was used as a slang interjection.

basest said...

i hate to correct you on your own blog...but you know as well as I do that I would catch the Hamlet reference. But it wasn't Polonius. It was Hamlet. To Polonious.

Pol. [aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first. He said I was a fishmonger. He is far gone, far gone! And truly in my youth I suff'red much extremity for love- very near this. I'll speak to him again.- What do you read, my lord?

Ham. Words, words, words.

Pol. What is the matter, my lord?

Ham. Between who?

Pol. I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

it's okay, maht...I've tried to convince myself that Rosencrantz did the "to be or not to be" speech.

S. Kearney said...

Wow, I wonder how my blog would do on this. I see you have lots of originality Maht, which is why we like you! :)

The Moon Topples said...

HinSF: She does indeed. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Zinnia: The samples for all of the blos so far are from January, February or March, and not all words used are represented.

Anna MR: Go get one of your own, maybe?

Cavey: "Lardy" is indeed from one of the fiction contest entries, but not the one I thought. And it's used as an adjective to describe a human being.

Basest: I realized that late last night, but was too tired to go back and correct myself. Plus I try not to edit posts once I've hit the "Publish" button.

It was my audio memory that gave it away: I could hear Matt Armstrong delivering the line, and then recalled where I was on the stage and everything. Good to know that I can still recall such stuff, even if it's too late.

Shameless: Wonder no more! Go ask Cavey to include you. (and thanks)

basest said...

i can pretty clearly remember the moment, too...i think it was just before matt tackled you. Joe and I were backstage waiting to come on.

I'm not as honest as you, though...I will edit a blog after i've published...not usually for content...often because I type like I have hooves.

Unknown said...

This is very cool stuff, Maht. Thanks for sharing and thanks for introducing me to another interesting blog.

The Moon Topples said...

Basest: Yes, it was directly before my prestigious and very Shakespearean prat-fall. Creatures with hooves can type just fine, by the way, provided they get a large enough keyboard.

Zorak: Glad you like ol' Cavey. He's good folks.