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Vocabulap, 2009-03

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Project proposal created for Lisa Strausfeld and Christian Marc Schmidt's <a>Mainstreaming Information</a> class at ITP, March 2009. The project was provisionally called “Vocabulap” (<em>vocabulary</em> + <em>overlap</em>. More info: <a>A2Z midterm: Vocabu-lame</a>

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Vocabulap, 2009-03

  1. 1. “Average number of words in the written vocabulary of a 6- to 14-year-old American child in 1945: 25,000 “Average number today: 10,000”
  2. 2. 1 Index, Harper’s, August 1990, http://is.gd/iWaF 2 “Does the average American student have less vocabulary today than in days gone by?” Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope, September 7, 2007, http://is.gd/iWbZ So reported Harper’s in August 1990.1 The validity of this comparison has been called into question as being one of not apples to apples, but rutabegas to rutabegas,2 yet our curiosity about the matter remains: How has our vocabulary changed over time? “Average number of words in the written vocabulary of a 6- to 14-year-old American child in 1945: 25,000 “Average number today: 10,000”
  3. 3. http://labs.timesonline.co.uk/bookscraper/ My project is to compare the aggregated vocabulary of at least twenty early-twentieth- century 20 novels from Project Gutenberg with that of the same number of novels from the current century, and—in a manner informed by data visualizations such as those at Wordnik and Book Scraper—to present the words that are shared between the two sets, as well as those that are exclusive to one or the other. Sample visualization from Book Scraper Sample visualization from Wordnik of the word “vanity” http://www.wordnik.com/
  4. 4. Source 9 × 20th-century novels 10 × 20th-century novels 11 × 20th-century novels 9 × 21st-century novels Characters 4,073,597 4,890,959 5,289,988 5,867,188 words 744,278 901,221 973,583 1,063,695 unique words 28,792 30,527 31,831 34,767 unique words/total words 0.039 0.034 0.033 0.033 characters/word 5.47 5.43 5.43 5.52 words/book 82,698 90,122 88,508 118,188 Preliminary Data
  5. 5. 1908–1920 {  Vocabulap } 2000–2009 Red words unique to that set of books (divided into two groups roughly a century apart) Gray words shared by both sets of books (but not necessarily all individual books { 56,789 } { 973,583 } { 22,345 } { 1,063,695 }
  6. 6. Prester John The Side of Paradise The Mysterious Affair at Styles Emma McChesney Co. Song of the Lark The Brother of DaphneLaddie Desert Gold Zuleika Dobson The Sam Gunn Omnibus KOPMascara An Irish Country Doctor FallingOutsourcedWyoming Spirit Gate The Serpent and the Rose 1908–1920 {  Vocabulap } 2000–2009 Red words unique to that book Blue words unique to that set of books (divided into two groups roughly a century apart)
  7. 7. The Sam Gunn Omnibus KOPMascara An Irish Country Doctor FallingOutsourcedWyoming Spirit Gate The Serpent and the Rose 1908–1920 Song of the Lark {  Vocabulap } 2000–2009 Song of the Lark buckwheat archie entbluht nosegay auriferous titter themes downed rak- ing catalpa rhythmus frio fricka Kronborg gerome molar wonniger half- closed weh trainer acte flurried slicker grabe meines deuce paste brushing nathanmeyers volsung Moonstone moods acquisition tawny Swede becalmed coin stepped refuse innocence wet reaches paths acci- dentally cuff quaver shiver rancher solitary accommodate necks consti- tutes vigorous superfluous magnified brisbane wales management tights belted anaemic catches trustworthy buried hinges sunk equipped lassitude voted among beans grotesquely consult boughs glee definition contribution final loosening pivot farewell terrifying persistent reason- able shine impetuously art fumed emergencies composure riches shows butter clicking preceded pumped argued delivers fairness glowered sen- timentally strewn tired flying born miles features stove wanderer com- plicated frequently eagerness dreary studied equally sand product trembling pry contemplative discourage foothold unspent workers buck etc struck breathe rasping instead inhuman relaxing enviously agreeably curiosity demolish barbered treacherous fortieth strangest absurdities servant doc suit tormenting shady scowling preacher fasten traveled scarecrow weeds tenant doing telegrams attentively key eyebrows dig footstep echo mechanic something stiffest cryptic half secondarily song lives whiter golden sitting luxuriance crumpled foaming charged min- utes thickness color regularly curl breasts claim mammoth plaster road storage feckless mourned disorder streams cake evidently discreet ease disbanded primarily moistness published accorded lots guided funeral sweeter particularly bleeding reins rough critically undersized above pine loser obligations excite sluggish wonderful sore faintly evanston schools panic mormons anticipating slower replied butcher misbehave bewildered burden fragment complained moisture novels detail blocked absentminded refuge enjoy wood gale nervous culture bad sandstorms stern skull journal kindest hugging matters un depended wish encoun- ters stimulus camp kept tried consistently fun story awakes convincing date apology vaudeville blossom unpacked loneliness explain tiny rats layers bye narrative mirthless insistent dear stemmed sleeved manifests lids penetrated bonnets ball du chill quit coffeeroom stop reappearance Red words unique to that book Blue words unique to that set of books Black words shared by both sets of books (though not necessarily all indi- vidual ones) 1 65432
  8. 8. The Sam Gunn Omnibus KOPMascara An Irish Country Doctor FallingOutsourcedWyoming Spirit Gate The Serpent and the Rose 1908–1920 Song of the Lark Archie {  Vocabulap } 2000–2009 Moonstone. His offices were in the Duke Block, over the drug store. Larry, the Dr. Howard Archie had just come up from a game of pool with the Jewish clothier and two traveling men who happened to be staying overnight in As the doctor in New England villages is proverbially old, so the doctor in small Colorado towns twenty-five years ago was generally young. Dr. Archie was barely thirty. He was tall, with massive shoulders which he held stiffly, and a Denver tailor.The doctor was always well dressed. Dr. Archie turned up the student’s lamp and sat down in the swivel chair before his desk. He sat uneasily, beating a tattoo on his knees with his fingers, and smelling of warming flannels. At three o’clock in the morning Dr. Archie was in the parlor putting on his cuffs and coat--there was no spare bedroom in that house. Peter Kronborg’s tongue. “Now, be still, I want to count.” Dr. Archie reached for her hand and took out his watch. When he put her hand back under the quilt he went over to one of the When she heard the front door open, it occurred to her that the pleasant thing which was going to happen was Dr. Archie himself. He came in and warmed his hands at the stove. As he turned to her, she threw herself wearily toward him, and so milky white.Thea must have got her hair and her silky skin from her mother. She was a little Swede, through and through. Dr. Archie could not help thinking how he would cherish a little creature like this if she were his. Her caressed her there and left a cryptic promise. Her brows were usually drawn together defiantly, but never when she was with Dr. Archie. Her affection for him was prettier than most of the things that went to make up the doctor’s life 1 65432

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