Sunday, November 21, 2010

Feasting on language


Before things get crazy this season here are some fun language resources to send out to your faculty.
WORDCOUNT is an artistic, minimalist site that sequences the vocabulary of the English language ranked in order of commonness. The data (currently 86,880 words) comes from the British National Corpus that collects samples of spoken and written British English language. 

The site is fun when you look up words and see the contiguous words in the sequence. Thanksgiving was followed by mania. I know the grocery store is going to be pretty manic by the time I get there. Black Friday is the official kick off to holiday shopping mania.

Conspiracy theorists should try looking up conspiracy. Does is mean anything?

 Take a look at the words on either side of "librarian":


Stephen Abram's blog had a recent post  with a fascinating and fun 2.5 minute video called
Tracking the 18th century social network through letters. Social network hold outs will find this offers some compelling evidence that this latest trend is nothing new and promotes intellectual growth. It is also an incredibly entertaining visualization of 18th century thought.




I already posted about the Oxford English Dictionary and their "Save the Word" site, but it is just so much fun I can't help returning to it. Scrolling across the canvas of forgotten words and hearing them call out "Pick me!" "No, no, pick me!" adds a sense of delight and urgency, as if I can actually save words from the past.



So as we all gear up for the mania of the holiday season, I hope your kitchens aren't filled with too many coquinators and that your soup pots are jussulent. This librarian is urging everyone to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

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