This Is our Village

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Word of the day “n-gram

What follows, while not ready for Prime Time, is nothing less than incredible; work with it and be amazed.
"An n-gram is a subsequence of n items from a given sequence. The items in question can be phonemes, syllables, letters, words or base pairs according to the application."

For those with a math background do some research on this term and its Markovian statistical roots.

Google Dec. 16 launched "Google Books Ngram Viewer", an experiment to let lay users and researchers search and study the waxing and waning of phrase instances over the last 500 years

As Google is trying to gain traction selling books, a free software tool that helps scholars analyze what words and phrases were popular several centuries ago is wowing researchers and media.

Google Dec. 16 launched Google Books Ngram Viewer, a data visualization tool that crawls 500 billion words culled from 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008 that Google has indexed in its cloud computing system.

Plug in your own words and phrases; I have been working with this for two days, simply awsome!!!

Dave Israel


  1. Mr. Israel, aka UCO president aka Resident Word Maven:

    This sounds interesting, and perhaps after the holidays I can give it a look-see. Right now I am up to my ears in "stuff." I would think you'd be too, but from the time of day noted on your various blog entries, I can see you never sleep. Perhaps there is some word from the past that describes such a person/machine.

    I'm sure you have read Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky (taken from "Through the Looking Glass"). It is full of made-up words. The one that stuck is "chortled" (the father "chortled in his joy").

    We have lost those three great old word mavens, William Safire; William F. Buckley, Jr.; and James L. Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick had a syndicated column called "The Writer's Art," which appeared in the Sunday Palm Beach Post. It was excellent and up to date. I really miss it.

    Thanks for sharing the n-gram business with us!

  2. Hi Lanny,

    He, He,! It turns out that "chortle(d) is not a made up word, but a perfectly correct one:

    chor·tle (chôrtl)
    A snorting, joyful laugh or chuckle.
    intr. & tr.v. chor·tled, chor·tling, chor·tles
    To utter a chortle or express with a chortle.

    Be careful with that little poem, you will be surprised at how many of those words are real words!

    Quoth the maven check some more!

    Dave Israel

  3. From what I understood, Lewis made up the word, and that's when it became part of the language. So it would be in current dictionaries. Are you saying it existed as a word before Lewis's time? And that a number of his other words in the poem (brillig, slithy, toves, wabes, mimsy, borograves, outgrabe, frumious, bandersnatch, etc.) were real words before his time, too? If so, I have been misinformed.

    Quoth the maven, check some more--you really crack me up!

  4. Hi Lanny,
    December 20, 2010 7:52 PM,

    Ah-so! yes, you are correct, but by this reasoning, every word is "made up".
    One day it was not there and then someone made it up.

    I mis-interpreted your comment as meaning that there is no such word.

    Mea Culpa!

    Dave Israel

  5. Dear Mr. Raven--er, Maven:

    No need for any mea culpas. As usual, I didn't put it clearly.



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